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…

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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.

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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! 😀🐠🐟

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Eggs, death and a bulbous belly

Yes, we have a third batch of cichlid eggs being watched over constantly. Some look white, some clear and I’m sure they all look tasty to the other tank residents!

One of my two apple snails died a couple of days ago. It had retracted into its shell much more than usual and on closer inspection, the shell like ‘door’ had been nibbled. The foul smell was not as long lived in my nostrils as last time so I must have netted it out just in time. Phew.

The last thing to note is the unusually round belly on a small upside down catfish. It is swimming normally but hanging around the big one more than usual (the boss of the white rock, seen at the top of the photo). I’ve read that they are very unlikely to breed in a home aquarium but I’ve also seen a YouTube clip of one with bloat and mine is nowhere near that swollen. Can it be an eggy belly? I hope so as I don’t want a sick fish. On the bright side, the other day we noticed threeupside downies; I thought there were only two left of the original four so that’s a result!

Thanks for reading and if anyone has suggestions about my catfish then please do let me know. I’ll keep you posted.

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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 Fish, Moody Fish and Daily Water Changes, Phew!

Hi all, long time no blog! I’ve taken a few pictures this afternoon of the tank as a whole and I’ve tried to capture some new fish.

Dead Fish and New Fish:
Big Boi the Dwarf Gourami now has two lady friends: Betty and Betty Too (yes, Too not Two!). Sadly Mrs C died a few days ago quite suddenly so Mr C the Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma Borelli) now has new lady loves as well now. Randy is also as happy as ever as a while ago I replaced the late Lemony with a new black Platy lady.

My husband went Upside Down Catfish crazy and bought four for my tank this weekend (along with the female cichlids – thank you!) They are very striking with their big round eyes, paler backs, snazzy markings and big whiskers (hmmm, ‘whiskers’ may not be the correct fishkeep’s term, sorry!)

I haven’t seen the last remaining Pygmy Sparkling Gourami for weeks so assume that it has been eaten. They were an unsuccessful addition (sorry little fishies) so I won’t be replacing them.

Male Dwarf Gourami in a Funny Mood:
Big Boi has been acting a bit differently for a week or so and seems more lethargic, mostly hanging about in a corner. He has also done some ghostly ’empty’ poops. It is sad not to see him spitting water and building bubble nests. Maybe he is fed up of me clearing out the dead plant nests as they start to rot…

I asked the LFS for advice and it was suggested my Nitrites (?) may be high but they were at zero yesterday. The pH is the same as ever BUT I was surprised that the Nitrates are high. Yesterday they were at 40ppm, which is the worst it’s ever been. I did a partial water change of course. Today the Nitrates were between 20ppm and 40ppm and I did another partial water change. I plan to do another test and change tomorrow and for however long it takes to bring it to a reasonable level. I am guilty of neglecting my testing so I’ll get the water back up to scratch and make sure I test every week as a rule.

I will keep you posted.

Egg Roll and a Tiddler:
Today I’ve seen what looks like bright white speckles here and there on the mopani root and bogwood so I am hoping they are eggs. I’m surprised the snails haven’t slurped them up by now. Two of the three shrimps seem to be on a roll of egg production at the moment. They keep fanning the eggs with their many legs. Is that why they have so many limbs?! Lastly, I saw a tiny tiddler in the tank last night after the lights were turned off. How exciting to think a fish has survived the perils of the tank. I haven’t seen it again yet though…

Happy Monday!

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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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