Rene is Here to Stay?

Just a quickie to tell you that Rene the bristlenose catfish is doing well and I hope is here to stay. He has one blister on his side that I can see and overall seems a lot smoother and back to his normal handsome self. He also seems to have eaten an algae wafer a day for two days; previously I was fishing out the uneaten wafers. He also seems to be behaving more normally, moving around more often and being his usual shy self when he is startled.

He is still in his small hospital tank and I’ve been changing 2/3 of the water every day and adding ‘cycle’ drops to the water. I’m so pleased not to have lost him and hope he is 100% soon.

In the community, Big Boi is building his THIRD nest. I’m afraid I destroyed the beginnings of the last one when I gave the tank a thorough cleaning when I first noticed fish illness. He has now forgiven me and trusts me enough not to mess with this one…

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Bristlenose Rene is Hanging In There

The lovely Rene is still doing ok. I moved him into a small tank on his own yesterday after watching the male dwarf cichlid Mr C dart at him (picture of the offender below) making contact with his body and almost knocking him off his leaf! He did this three times before I had the tank ready. This is the first time I’ve seen this behaviour. Perhaps because the plant attached to rock that Rene was suctioned to is a favourite of Mr and Mrs C. Two shrimp are happily munching on this plant tonight but this does not seem to offend them. Yet…

Rene still has bubble blisters at his tail end but I’m keeping a close eye on him. He is near the heater (with guard cage) in the pics. Come on Rene!

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Big Boi is at it AGAIN!

My Dwarf Gourami Big Boi is in amorous mood again. He dealt very well with my destruction of his first nest but now he’s on a new mission. He is pictured below with his nest, the darker patch in the greenery near the top of the heater. I hope his lady love Betty (pretty blue girl in the pic with Rene) is a bit more impressed with this one. It is next to the water outlet bar which I was surprised about but then it is sturdily constructed (for a nest) and it is the best spot for plants at the surface.

Rene the Bristlenose is doing ok. At least he is no worse, and he has spent more time suckered to the bogwood today, as opposed to recent days not sucking on anything for long periods. I spoke to Alison at Maidenhead Aquatics today who advised a hoovering of gravel and a daily water change for a week and wait to see if the Myxazin takes effect. If not, then she advised me to try again with the full dose. In her experience, this is a reputable treatment and doesn’t have adverse effects on the catfish types I have. She suggested the blisters could be burns from the heater but the swollen abdomen led her to think it may be a bacterial problem. It makes sense that if there is too much harmful bacteria in the gravel, the bottom-feeders would be the first to have adverse effects. All other fishes seems very well though. Thanks Alison!

Thanks for all advice received and I’d be happy to hear any further words of wisdom and experience. Many thanks everyone!

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Help! Rene the Bristlenose Has Blisters!

Poor Rene the Bristlenose catfish has what look like skin blisters of varying sizes (1-3mm) one or two on each side lower down under his fins. His abdomen also looks bloated. I have done a water change today as the main advice I read online is to do this. I think he may be sensitive to the anti-bacterial drops I’ve been putting in the tank for the last 4 days (5 day treatment period). If this is the case, I am hoping the lumps will heal when I stop the treatment. I’ve been adding Waterlife brand Myxazin which contains Formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite Green 0.085% and Acriflavine Hydrochloride 0.055% w/w. I have used the full recommended dose for the small tank with 4 x Sparkling Gouramis, and HALF the dose for the main 200L tank as I know the Bristlenoses, Corys and Suckermouth may be sensitive to the stuff.

Any words of advice would be appreciated. Should I dose the tank tomorrow with the last day of treatment or skip this to see if Rene recovers? I’ve found it difficult to find information online on this specific problem. These fish get a bloated abdomen when they are experiencing kidney failure but I’m hoping it’s not that bad and why the bubble blisters?!?

I have posted a photo of Rene, one blister shows as a light grey blur. I’ll add better photos.

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Hatched or Snacked?

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Mrs C’s eggs are no longer on the leaf but I don’t know what has happened to them. They have either been eaten or they have hatched and are hiding successfully in the plants. The latter is unlikely but I can always hope. Mrs C the female dwarf Cichlid is still displaying the same colours and spending all her time around the plant where her eggs were laid…

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The fish all seem healthy apart from one of the sparkling gouramis. It has a slightly ragged looking tail and fin and there are tiny white/grey lumps which look cotton-like but they aren’t around its mouth. I set up a small tank we bought years ago with the pump it came with. I floated a plastic drink bottle filled with boiling water as a temporary heater and added the chlorine remover just in case the bottle leaked. After a trip to my fantastic LFS (Clipsley Aquatics), I now have a 25W heater, some fine gravel and some medicine. I started dosing both tanks with Myxazin (recommended by Clipsley), which treats a broad range of bacterial infections. I put all four sparkling gouramis in the small tank although only one is displaying the signs of disease so far. I can give the small tank the full dose but the community tank is having a half dose because the Bristlenoses (and any scaleless fish) and fry (if there are any) are particularly sensitive. The course of treatment is 5 days so I’ll let you know the results.

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You can just make out the sick fish near the surface to the left and another in front of the rocks.

I found a bag of six of these rocks in the LFS for a bargain £2.99 so I couldn’t resist a non-essential purchase!

I changed some water in the small tank today as I’m worried about the difficulties of keeping good water quality in a small tank. I tested before the change and although some Nitrates were present, there was also a small amount of ammonia. I will probably do a small change every day.

All other fish are happy; Big Boi is chasing Betty (Dwarf Gouramis) and nuzzling around the plants at the surface – is he thinking of bubblenest number 2? Randy is chasing all the Platy ladies, the Scissor Tailed Rasboras are shoaling beautifully, George the Suckermouth is noticeably larger and Nancy and Rene the Bristlenose couple are looking plump and have their places on the bogwood. Ah fish harmony.

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Cichlid Egg Surprise!

The bad news… Big Boi’s bubble nest, although mighty impressive to me, did not encourage Betty to produce eggs. It was beautifully tended but the broken pieces of plant matter that he had used for construction were starting to perish. When I had done a couple of water changes, I hadn’t wanted to disturb the tank too much, so the whole environment was looking a little overgrown and mucky. I decided to remove the nest, have a good prune of the plants, scrub the front and sides of the tank, vacuum the gravel surface with the siphon gadget and clean the tubing of the external filter. After this and a 15/20% water change, the tank is looking great. It is clearer, lighter and the fish are happy. Dwarf Gourami Big Boi hasn’t exhibited any negative behaviour and I hope he will attempt a new nest in the future.

Tonight I noticed Mrs C the female Cichlid lurking deep in the java fern growing on rock. It was a surprise to see her hovering over a fat leaf covered in eggs! Having read what I can online, I believe the eggs are adhesive and they are usually deposited in caves or plant pots. The female guards the eggs while the male guards the surrounding territory. After 2-3 days incubation, they should hatch and feed from the egg sacs. After 4-5 days of development, they will be free swimming. The females lay up to 100 eggs and she looks after them by cleaning them and carrying the newly hatched in her mouth. I will keep an eye on her and see if this is all correct information!

It was sad to have to remove the nest but a lovely surprise that new attempts are being made to increase the tank population. Yey, happy fish!

If anyone has advice on how I can care for the young and prevent them all being eaten, please do let me know. Thanks!

Pictures: the little white dots are some of the eggs and the speckled brown area is Mrs C.

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