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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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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Clicking Clowns and Eggless Wonders

I’m afraid the cichlid eggs vanished (into fishes mouths?!) a couple of days ago. The smilers are happily swimming together, flaring their fins and looking fine so I’m sure they’ll conjure up some more eggs in the future.

The top-dog red rainbow is still a beautiful sparkling red and asserting his authority. Nancy is still the most skittish fish I’ve ever seen. Any slight movement from us non-fish folk and she is zooming under her bogwood. I was pleased to creep up on her today and get a picture….before she swam off at top speed.

For the first time, I heard the clowns ‘clicking’ at one another while competing over a food pellet like a couple of snuffling piglets. Hooray, my fish can talk!

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