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…


AND another thing…

I forgot to say in my last post – I saw two tiny baby White Tail Acei hiding under the Mopani root! I noticed the mouthbrooder female was empty mouthed this morning and was really eager for food, so I was on the look out for wrigglers. There are plenty of hiding places in the tank so I hope they survive. No, I didn’t manage to get a picture but the big fish are very photogenic….



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! 😀🐠🐟




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😀













Happy World Rat Day!

Happy World Rat Day 2013 everyone! I know, this is my fish blog but I am a rat fan and used to keep them. Sadly, I am more allergic to rats than pretty much anything else so decided to stop keeping them. My husband really missed them so started being a rat keeper himself. This way I don’t have to wheeze and sneeze cleaning the giant cage and doing other rattie related things. I tend to get involved if they need some TLC, cleaning, wound washing, medicining. Then I reach for my inhaler! 😷 Great fun but fish don’t make me wheeze. Go fish!

The photos below are of our ratties past and present. We’ve only ever had two male rats, Beagrie and Boris, the rest have all been good girls. One of the photos shows Boris flaunting himself so those of a sensitive disposition beware!!



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.




Versatile Blogger Award

I am very pleased to say that I’ve been given a Versatile Blogger Award by the splendid Nivedita AKA Curiosity and the Cat (www.curiousfeline.wordpress.com) Thank you!


I understand that if I accept the Versatile Blogger Award, I need to:
“Nominate 10-15 other bloggers
Inform them of this amazing award bestowed upon them
Share 7 random facts about myself
Thank the blogger who awarded me (complete with the link)”

Here’s some random nonsense:

1. I’m a pescetarian

2. I’ve lost over 3 stones with Weightwatchers

3. I want to write a book but I’m too scared to try

4. I am slightly obsessed with owls

5. I’m an expert procrastinator

6. I’m very happily married (7 years tomorrow – Happy Anniversary BH!)

7. I enjoy Kung-fu movies and Japanese horror

Here goes, my nominations are, in random order: (www. …….. .wordpress.com)

Lydia Street (lydiastreetdotcom) – beautiful garden and home posts from Christe and Dianna

Born to Organise (gardeningnirvana) – Alys writes a fun, postively inspiring gardening and life blog

Slim Nexus (thenexuscore) – aquarist, gardener, budding linguist and all round project obsessive (and helpful with fish questions!)

Silver Bells (silverbells2012) – Helen’s lovely garden blog with some really great photos and inspiration

Suburban Eye Feast (suburbaneyefeast) – fun, positive posts about beauty products, ‘how to’s, with a bit of life and family thrown in

Devon Morton’s Reef Tank (devonmorton.com) – a dream tank from an experienced reef aquarist

Dust Tracks on the Web (dusttracks) – amazing, prolific and stunningly beautiful wildlife photography

Book Volunteer (oxfamwilmslow) – reminds me what great and weird books there are out there, with great reviews

Casual Natural Southern Feminist (casualnatural) – varied blog with fine opinion posts, love it

Romancing the Bee (romancingthebee) – recipes, plants, bees, what more do you need?!

Quratzafar (quratzafar) – excellent, atmospheric story writing

I hope I have got all your details down correctly but please let me know if not! I’m really enjoying blogging and reading your posts too so thanks!

Double Trouble

Nancy and Rene the Bristlenose buddies seem very happy together.  They flutter about the tank after each other and have even found a nook each in the bogwood.  Nancy has become a lot more outgoing since Rene’s arrival so we see a lot more of her.



I managed to catch the two female Bettas together which shows off some colour.  I haven’t made any moves towards finding them a gentleman friend yet.


I also got a good snap of Mr and Mrs C together and will polish off this post with pics of super fish and a splay of bristles – ta-daaa!






Is it so mysterious?!

A fascinating update for y’all… Two kind people on the aquariumadvice site have suggested what my Mysterious Matter may be: the remnant of a piece of fish food, apparently common in new tanks or a hard water deposit.  I have tested my pH and don’t think it is the latter.  To save boring the world further, I may just get my arm in there and wipe it off!  I hope it’s not a higher life form.

Happy weekend