Big Boi has a new nest…looking back I make it number 6! There’s no sign of anything but his bubbles but still I know he is happy enough to keep building.
I noticed one of the three algae-eating shrimps has a belly full of what looks like many tiny eggs. I read that they can carry their eggs for about 5 weeks before larvae hatch but I imagine they would be far too tiny for me to see. They need phytoplankton to feed on which would probably be present in a mature tank. My tank is never short of algae. I am not going to try putting the shrimp in a breeding tank; as usual I will let aquarium nature take its course.
I’m afraid that the dwarf gouramis Big Boi and Betty haven’t made use of the recent nests, even though he had two going at one time! The dwarf ciclids Mr & Mrs C produced another batch of eggs recently but they were gone within a couple of days. No sign of any young tiddlers. At least they are happy enough to try!
I had a huge clean up this week and hacked away at the plants as some leaves get quite fuzzy with algae.
My Dwarf Gourami Big Boi is in amorous mood again. He dealt very well with my destruction of his first nest but now he’s on a new mission. He is pictured below with his nest, the darker patch in the greenery near the top of the heater. I hope his lady love Betty (pretty blue girl in the pic with Rene) is a bit more impressed with this one. It is next to the water outlet bar which I was surprised about but then it is sturdily constructed (for a nest) and it is the best spot for plants at the surface.
Rene the Bristlenose is doing ok. At least he is no worse, and he has spent more time suckered to the bogwood today, as opposed to recent days not sucking on anything for long periods. I spoke to Alison at Maidenhead Aquatics today who advised a hoovering of gravel and a daily water change for a week and wait to see if the Myxazin takes effect. If not, then she advised me to try again with the full dose. In her experience, this is a reputable treatment and doesn’t have adverse effects on the catfish types I have. She suggested the blisters could be burns from the heater but the swollen abdomen led her to think it may be a bacterial problem. It makes sense that if there is too much harmful bacteria in the gravel, the bottom-feeders would be the first to have adverse effects. All other fishes seems very well though. Thanks Alison!
Thanks for all advice received and I’d be happy to hear any further words of wisdom and experience. Many thanks everyone!
Mrs C’s eggs are no longer on the leaf but I don’t know what has happened to them. They have either been eaten or they have hatched and are hiding successfully in the plants. The latter is unlikely but I can always hope. Mrs C the female dwarf Cichlid is still displaying the same colours and spending all her time around the plant where her eggs were laid…
The fish all seem healthy apart from one of the sparkling gouramis. It has a slightly ragged looking tail and fin and there are tiny white/grey lumps which look cotton-like but they aren’t around its mouth. I set up a small tank we bought years ago with the pump it came with. I floated a plastic drink bottle filled with boiling water as a temporary heater and added the chlorine remover just in case the bottle leaked. After a trip to my fantastic LFS (Clipsley Aquatics), I now have a 25W heater, some fine gravel and some medicine. I started dosing both tanks with Myxazin (recommended by Clipsley), which treats a broad range of bacterial infections. I put all four sparkling gouramis in the small tank although only one is displaying the signs of disease so far. I can give the small tank the full dose but the community tank is having a half dose because the Bristlenoses (and any scaleless fish) and fry (if there are any) are particularly sensitive. The course of treatment is 5 days so I’ll let you know the results.
You can just make out the sick fish near the surface to the left and another in front of the rocks.
I found a bag of six of these rocks in the LFS for a bargain £2.99 so I couldn’t resist a non-essential purchase!
I changed some water in the small tank today as I’m worried about the difficulties of keeping good water quality in a small tank. I tested before the change and although some Nitrates were present, there was also a small amount of ammonia. I will probably do a small change every day.
All other fish are happy; Big Boi is chasing Betty (Dwarf Gouramis) and nuzzling around the plants at the surface – is he thinking of bubblenest number 2? Randy is chasing all the Platy ladies, the Scissor Tailed Rasboras are shoaling beautifully, George the Suckermouth is noticeably larger and Nancy and Rene the Bristlenose couple are looking plump and have their places on the bogwood. Ah fish harmony.
The bad news… Big Boi’s bubble nest, although mighty impressive to me, did not encourage Betty to produce eggs. It was beautifully tended but the broken pieces of plant matter that he had used for construction were starting to perish. When I had done a couple of water changes, I hadn’t wanted to disturb the tank too much, so the whole environment was looking a little overgrown and mucky. I decided to remove the nest, have a good prune of the plants, scrub the front and sides of the tank, vacuum the gravel surface with the siphon gadget and clean the tubing of the external filter. After this and a 15/20% water change, the tank is looking great. It is clearer, lighter and the fish are happy. Dwarf Gourami Big Boi hasn’t exhibited any negative behaviour and I hope he will attempt a new nest in the future.
Tonight I noticed Mrs C the female Cichlid lurking deep in the java fern growing on rock. It was a surprise to see her hovering over a fat leaf covered in eggs! Having read what I can online, I believe the eggs are adhesive and they are usually deposited in caves or plant pots. The female guards the eggs while the male guards the surrounding territory. After 2-3 days incubation, they should hatch and feed from the egg sacs. After 4-5 days of development, they will be free swimming. The females lay up to 100 eggs and she looks after them by cleaning them and carrying the newly hatched in her mouth. I will keep an eye on her and see if this is all correct information!
It was sad to have to remove the nest but a lovely surprise that new attempts are being made to increase the tank population. Yey, happy fish!
If anyone has advice on how I can care for the young and prevent them all being eaten, please do let me know. Thanks!
Pictures: the little white dots are some of the eggs and the speckled brown area is Mrs C.
I really want to post pictures of the new Dwarf Gourami eggs or tiddlers but…nothing has happened yet! Big Boi has primped and plumped his bubblenest, chased all the fish in turn if they get too close and has chased Betty around a lot. I haven’t seen any dancing under the nest or egg-squirting (that should be a technical aquarist term!) I probably won’t get a successful breeding situation as this has all happened by chance. It would be nice though.
Hot shrimp update: I bought two algae-eating shrimp from the same shop I picked up Speckled Jim. There’s plenty of algae to munch on so they should thrive. I’ll do another water change tomorrow but I want to be careful not to disturb the mighty nest.
The first pic shows the lovely Betty, the second Big Boi and his nest (the mound coming out of the water has a halo!) and in third place, the Big Boi squirting water into the air! Woohoo!
Big Boi the male Dwarf Gourami has started building a bubble nest! Just when I thought fish couldn’t get any more exciting! He has been carrying small pieces of plant matter to the nest, going to the surface frequently then swimming underneath the nest to release bubbles. He has been chasing any other fish who get too close for his liking.
The next stage, usually starting in an afternoon or evening, is the male showing off to the female by swimming around her flapping his fins, generally saying, “hey babe, come and look at my cosy nest!”
I’m sure Betty will go for it as Big Boi is very handsome and lets face it he is the ONLY male of her species in the tank. If she accepts him after his display, they should swim in circles underneath the nest. When she is ready for spawning, she would touch him with her mouth on his back, then he helps her to get those tens of eggs into the nest which he fertilises immediately. It will then be up to the male to blow more bubbles over the eggs to help keep them part of the nest. After 12-24 hours, the eggs will hatch. After about three days the young ones should be able to swim on their own so will escape the nest.
This is the part where I need HELP. Assuming all of this will happen successfully, advice I have read about using a breeding tank is that the female is removed straight away and the male removed after a few days of caretaking the nest. If the parents are not removed, the young are eaten. Bearing in mind that this is happening by chance in my 200Litre community tank, not a shallow water breeding tank, is it enough for me to see if any tiddlers survive on their own or could I remove the eggs and nest and keep them in a small tank? I would have to get another heater of course…