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 everyone😀

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Happy Fish, Egg Shell and Worms!

Hi all! The community tank is AOK, all fish are healthy and the Clown Loaches haven’t eaten the apple snail or zebra snail yet! The round-bellied Upside Down Catfish is fine so perhaps it just ate too much.

The red Rainbowfish are beauties, the most dominant is bright reddish orange and the others range from a dull bronze to yellow and orange. I do like a colour changing fish. The little neon Rainbowfish are just as active and two are starting to look like mini-plaice as they are noticeably larger.

I save egg shells to crush for use in the garden, piling them up in a bowl in the kitchen. I have found that the fish like them to munch on, play with and generally sit on (depending on the fish). I had half a shell from a boiled egg and gave it an extra clean by putting it in a cup of boiling water. I then dropped it in the tank and the Clown Loaches loved snuffling around it, sitting in it, pulling at the remaining membrane inside – that’s when Stephen the Bristlenose Catfish wasn’t sucking on it. I fished (hahaha) it out the next day and have popped one in the tank a couple of times a week. I like to think it would help with calcium levels a tiny bit to help the apple snail but it is a good fish toy anyway.

I splashed out £2 at Amazon Aquatics in Leigh and bought a small sieve-like feeder to suction to the tank side. I defrost a cube of blood worms, pop them in there and the fish munch them all in less than a minute. The Clowns and Rainbowfish are especially keen. I give them this as a treat about once a week and have a selection of dried food types suitable for all the different fish in the community. I only feed them once a day and they always eat up quickly.

I’ve had the aquarium for about a year now as a birthday present from Super Husband and I still love it. Luckily for me it was my birthday again a couple of weeks ago and Super Husband bought me….another 200 litre aquarium and cabinetHOORAY for birthdays! This will be a single species (ish) tank so I will post pictures and good news soon.

Hope all you fish fans are happy.

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Newbies Transform the Aquarium

I am pleased to say that I have 11 new fish! They are a Christmas present from my super husband and I couldn’t be more pleased.

We went to Amazon Aquatics (in Leigh, Lancashire) for the second time after buying the very healthy and successful clown loaches before Xmas. They have a great selection and I was happy to be helped by the owner yesterday. I bought the following:

4 x Red Rainbow Glossolepis incisus
2 x Sheephead Acara/Dwarf Flag Cichlid/Smiling Acara (tricky fellows with many aliases!) Laetacara curviceps
5 x Praecox Rainbow Melanotaenia praecox

I wanted more cichlids suitable for the community as I really miss the behaviour of the late Apistogramma borellis, following one another around and swimming in a stop/start fashion. This pair are beauties and have shown a variety of colours. They follow one another around and act as though they are a ‘pair’ (this attracted me to them in the shop) but their markings and fin shapes look like male attributes. Hard to tell I know but maybe they behave that way as they were the last two in the shop, sticking together or maybe I’ve got some peaceful gay fish. Either way, they are smashing and they SMILE!

The Rainbowfish were not a fish I had really considered but I asked for recommendations for my tank and the owner kindly found a book packed with colour photos of the different types and what their colours could or would be. I’m very pleased. The Reds are very brave and follow me if I am near the tank, they shoal with the Scissor tailed Rasboras, with the little Rainbows or on their own. As I write, I’ve noticed one of the Reds has changed to a bright orangey red colour and seems to be asserting its authority. What a huge colour change!

The Praecox are a smaller variety and have been hanging out near the surface adding interest to that neglected area. Their scales shine and look neon blue under the lights (they ARE also known as Neon Rainbows).

The whole tank looks so much more lively and the peaceful interaction is perfect for my community. Hopefully it will stay that way but who’s to say?!

I’ve tried to capture them in the pics, which also show some oldies…and an egg-filled shrimp hanging upside down.

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Aquarium Update Good and Bad

Hey all! There have been a few changes – good and bad – over recent months. Sorry for the delay!

Bad News

On the down side, I have lost quite a few fish, mainly after unwisely purchasing a Siamese Fighting Fish / Betta male from Pets at Home. The second day after his introduction to the tank the female was dead, a couple of days later the new male was dead. Then White Spot was evident on many of the fish. I medicined the tank (details in a future post); some died, some recovered. Mr C the male Dwarf Cichlid was very spotty and has lived to tell the tale. So too was Stephen the male Bristlenose, but he is healthy and bristling nicely.

Good News

Current (happy and healthy) inmates are as follows:

Scissor-tail Rasbora x 5 Rasbora trilineata

Platy x 1 female Xiphophorus variatus
Pam

Bristlenose Catfish x 2 male and female Ancistrus temminckii
Nancy and Stephen

Dwarf Gourami x 1 female Colisa lalia
Betty Too

Sterbas Corydora x 3 Corydorus sterbai

Dwarf Cichlid x 1 male Apistogramma borelli
Mr C or Grump

Upside Down Catfish x 2 Synodontis nigriventris

Clown Loach x 5 Botia macracantha

Shrimp x 3

Apple snail x 2

Zebra snail x 1

Future Fish

I’m planning on buying some more fish friends in the new year and I’m considering a group of Pearl Gourami Trichogaster leeri and a group of Dwarf Flag Cichlids Laetacara curviceps.. I’m still enjoying the decision making process!

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New Bristlenose and a Shy Sore-Bellied Platy

I was lured into buying a new bristlenose catfish today by the LFS – how dare they! He/she is about half the size of Nancy, with a similar colouring and tiny white tips to its tail. I might call it Peta/Peter or Victor/Victoria?! Or Steven. Nancy seems ok so far although I did watch her chase the new one away from the underside of the planted bogwood. There are two pieces of it and lots of room but she isn’t used to sharing. I also bought a lovely piece of mopani root (£4.99 bargain!) which is soaking in a bucket so I can see how much it tints the water; the tannins leached are supposed to deter algae but I don’t want a big imbalance of the stuff nor do I want brown water! I’ll keep it soaking a while. Also, I bought a small fern-like plant; no clue what it is but I’ll try and look it up online.

I had a good 50-60 litre water change today and replaced the white wooly top layer of the external filter with a new one. I bought some non-branded ones on eBay and had to snip a tiny bit with scissors for it to fit perfectly so I hope they will be effective. Big Boi the male Dwarf Gourami is very miffed with me as I have destroyed his nest of dead plant matter. He is determined number 7 will prove irresistible to Betty. He expressed his feelings towards me in the photo.

I’m a bit worried about Lemony the yellow female Platy as she has been hiding out in a flower pot lately. She is getting so skilled at camouflage that the other night I thought she had been eaten as I couldn’t find her! I assumed she was either hiding or guarding. Unfortunately, I think she has been hiding as her abdomen looks like someone has taken a nibble at it – her undercarriage looks a bit frayed! And a bit pink. You can just about see it in the fifth photo with Mr C the cichlid (it looks like he’s having a close look at it!) I’ll keep watching and (hopefully) learning!

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Death and Life in the Aquarium

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.

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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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