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

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

Poor George

To prepare the newly filled aquarium for the first fish, I added Nutrafin Cycle doses according to the bottle instructions, the odd pinch of fish flakes and daily doses of water from my existing tank. After a good week it had cycled enough that there was no ammonia, no nitrite but 20ppm of nitrate when tested. Hours after adding the first fish, I tested the water and was surprised to see the presence of nitrite as well at nitrate. It shouldn’t really have been a surprise as that is a common occurrence when adding first fish according to many Internet sources but I was too confident because my first tank never had a nitrite peak – lucky me!

As well as the 6 lovely Mbuna Cichlids, I also collected stroppy George the Sucking Loach from the LFS; they had been looking after him for months after I returned him due to his harassment of the other fish in the community tank. Every visit we would make sure we saw George and said hello. Yes, we did get odd looks at times. Especially from George. After realising that this sort of algae eater was suitable for the new fishies, I added him to the new tank too. He was very happy…until the second day when he was dead at the bottom of the tank. He WAS such a hardy fish, not even picking up Ich when other tank mates had it, being passed around to tank share with all sorts of fish in the LFS: yellow labs, an axylotyl and crabs to name a few. It was either a coincidence or I accidentally killed him with nitrites. I hope not. There was no sign of nibbled fins, lumps, discolouration, etc. but his anal vent looked red… Too much information?! Sorry George.

The second night, the Mbunas displayed behaviour I didn’t expect, the White Tailed Acei AND the Yellow Labs in a gang seeming to gulp at the surface. Yet more internet reading and I adjusted the inflow pipe so the water had a lot more agitation therefore more oxygen. Very quickly they all went back to normal. Result. I should say that to combat the nitrite peak I did a big water change and added more Nutrafin Cycle.

Since then my tests have shown ammonia present, no nitrites and still 20ppm nitrates. I’ve been adding doses of SERA ‘toxivec’ to neutralise ammonia.

The fish are looking great, really healthy and active. They recognise me already so follow me to beg for food. So far all is well.

20130327-180805.jpg

20130404-213808.jpg

20130404-213836.jpg

Aquarium Number 2 Unveiled!

Thanks to Super Husband I have a second 200 litre Fluval aquarium (with Aquamanta EFX 200 external filter) as a birthday gift which I am starting up as a Cichlid tank. So far, I have spent two hours assembling the flat pack of a cabinet (possibly the least clear assembly ‘instructions’ I’ve ever seen – and I HAVE assembled Ikea furniture and a flat pack greenhouse!), rinsed a bumper bag of fine gravel and added 21 pieces of lava rock.

My LFS, Clipsley Lane Aquatics in Haydock, supplied the lava rocks. All are a decent size and have multiple holes in which the fishies can hide. Thanks to their patience, I took a lot of time browsing and considering the best solution for a good Mbuna Cichlid environment. I had thought of buying a fake rock thingy that would have filled most of the length of the tank but it didn’t have the proper cave and hiding places I thought the cichlids would like. I ended up borrowing a big metre rule and hauling all the lava rocks off the shelf to try to imagine their placement in the tank. I bought so many and we are regulars so the lovely Boss Lady gave me a discount (thanks!).

We had a trip to Maidenhead Aquatics in Appley Bridge and with the patient and detailed assistance from Alison, I came away with 6 new Mbuna Malawi Cichlids to start the tank: 3 x Pseudotropheus sp. “Acei” or Ngara White Tail and 3 x Labidochromis caeruleus or Yellow Lab. From reading various websites and forums, I understood that one tank could only keep Mbuna (rock dwellers), Haps OR Peacocks. After my conversation with Alison and the introduction of these relatively peaceful Mbuna, my options are to introduce more Mbuna or I could add some Peacocks. A long as the size of the fish is suitable and they have an agreeable (for cichlids) temperament, I am happy to keep Mbuna and Peacocks. It will be another four weeks at least before I add more. I will see how the good bacteria cope with the first gang.

I love fish!

20130324-181711.jpg20130324-181728.jpg20130324-181741.jpg

20130324-182603.jpg

20130324-182635.jpg

20130324-182711.jpg

20130324-182720.jpg

20130324-182739.jpg