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!

20121222-221046.jpg

20121222-221606.jpg

20121222-221713.jpg

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!

20120723-163109.jpg

20120723-163127.jpg

20120723-163142.jpg

20120723-163149.jpg

20120723-163157.jpg

20120723-163209.jpg

20120723-163455.jpg

20120723-163501.jpg

Hatched or Snacked?

20120519-121911.jpg

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…

20120519-122522.jpg

20120519-122621.jpg

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.

20120519-123732.jpg
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.

20120519-124644.jpg

20120519-124654.jpg

20120519-124703.jpg

20120519-124723.jpg

20120519-124733.jpg

20120519-124746.jpg

Help! My Dwarf Gourami is nesting!

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…

Any advice would be very much appreciated!

20120429-165735.jpg

20120429-165808.jpg

20120429-165829.jpg

New Plant, New Fish and Old Timers

I’ve been trying to capture photos of all the new fish but the Pygmy Sparkling Gouramis are extremely shy! I’ll keep trying. All fish are settling in very well together. Mrs Cichlid spent the first couple of days after the latest fish addition, hiding out in the rock plant and chasing any who swam too close. She is now more sociable. Everyone seems to be finding their place.

20120412-145447.jpg

20120412-145459.jpg

20120412-145511.jpg

20120412-145531.jpg

20120412-145601.jpg

20120412-145631.jpg

20120412-145829.jpg