Betty Two is No More & Clowns Love Pipes!

My last dwarf gourami, the lovely blue Betty Two died on Monday. She had been a bit lethargic for a couple of days which was very noticeable as she was a happy wriggler and always one of the first to the food. I didn’t see any signs of illness other than that so maybe she was an old dear.

The larger of the two smiley cichlids had a small white lump with a pale pink line around it on its chin but over the last 5 days it has healed and become more white that pink. It did have some of the white stuff hanging off one day and I saw the smaller one nibble at it. Yuk, but it was probably just helping it! Since then the lump has shrunk and there hasn’t been any change in behaviour. I took out a piece of broken flowerpot thinking perhaps it has injured itself on something in the tank. I hope that the pink part of the ulcer/wound fading away means that it is healing. I did buy some Melafix and some aquarium salt but haven’t felt the need to use either; better to let it heal naturally than add extra stuff to the water.

On a happy note, all the other fishies are doing very well. The red and neon rainbow fish are very lively and the clown loaches are constantly entertaining. I added some pieces of plastic pipe bound with an elastic band, weighted with a piece of plant pot and the clowns love them. I thought they may be a little too big but they squeeze in quite happily. I’ve also seen an upside down catfish in there and even Stephen the bristlenose catfish. Now I really wouldn’t have thought there’d be room for that bristle beard.

I’ve been doing partial water changes every few days for the last couple of weeks as I did overdo it putting so many new fish in at once but it has worked out okay as I’ve been putting the extra work in and testing most days.

One of the red rainbows turned VERY orangey red on the first day which I understand means he is the dominant male. The thing is, I can’t tell the sex of the other fish. Oh the mysteries of the deep…

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Sneaky Snail Snackers

I’ve noticed a number of times recently that the clown loaches are nibbling around the apple snails. The snails are winning so far by clamping shut quickly and waiting until the coast is clear but I’m not sure they will survive the rapidly growing mouths of the clowns. They made short work of the mini snail infestation a while ago. The clowns are venturing out even more than usual now they have rainbow buddies, it’s great to see them and the scissor tailed Rasboras as part of a mega-shoal (technical fishkeeping term)!

The new fish are doing well so far, one of the four rainbows has turned distinctly orangey red, the mini rainbows are a lovely sparkling blue and the flag cichlids are happily following one another around. I noticed yesterday the larger cichlid has a small lump under its chin. I have no idea why but will keep an eye on it.

In the second photo you should be able to see Nancy the bristlenose suckered onto the bogwood with a zebra snail friend. She’s a buxom beauty.

I did a partial water change on Sunday before introducing the new fish, another mid week and also today. I am aware I have introduced a large bio load by adding so many fish at once so the least I can do is keep an eye on the water quality.

I love my fish!

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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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Big Boi is no more…

My male dwarf gourami Big Boi died this afternoon. He was propped in a plant at the surface, tilted slightly to one side. I put him in a little ‘hospital tank’ and he stayed the same for a few hours then died. Poor boy, I shall miss his glamourous sparkle in the tank.

How do you know for sure the age of the fish you buy? Perhaps some fish are older as the shops wait for them to develop their showier colours, such as Betta males? I’d like to breed fish in the future, perhaps when I find my favourite types…

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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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Bubblenest Number 6 and an Egg-Filled Shrimp

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.

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No Fish Young ‘Uns to Report…

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.

I love my fish!

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Big Boi is at it AGAIN!

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!

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Hatched or Snacked?

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Cichlid Egg Surprise!

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.

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