I am sorry to say that the beautiful Rene, my male bristlenose catfish, died sometime last night. He was at the bottom of the tank, lying on his back when we got up this morning. I had a good look at him out of the water to see if I could learn anything about his demise. He was lumpy of belly, but this was all soft with no hard or prominent lumps anywhere. I could see just a few tiny blisters along his back but no others. I did see some yesterday near his tail, bobbing in the water (!) but perhaps these were deflated out of water… Did he have some sort of bacterial infection or dropsy? No one knows but thanks to those who gave advice.
The good news: the community tank is doing well and Big Boi is making his largest nest EVER! The live plant stems bend in towards it beautifully and he is effectively guarding it from his fish buddies. Betty looks the same as usual; I was hoping to see a belly plump with eggs… We will see.