Rene the Bristlenose Has Landed

I had a call today from a lovely lady at Maidenhead Aquatics with the fine news that they had a Bristlenose Catfish in stock. Nancy has been waiting for her boyfriend for a while and he is a similar size to her. The shop seems to get them in so young sometimes that it is not immediately possible to tell the sex. Rene is a beauty. His bristles are fantastic. The photo is of him in the transporting bag but he is now in the tank…in Nancy’s favourite spot hanging on the underside of the planted bogwood. I hope she gets the courage to join him. The woman who sold him to me said he had once belonged to her but she did not have any breeding success, so brought him to the shop to sell. A customer did buy him, but them returned him as he wasn’t wanted for some reason. I want you Rene!!!

I took a couple of (tank!) water samples the the LFS* today for them to test the phosphate level as I believe this is a major cause of hairy algae and I have rather a lot of it at the moment. The level was ‘high’ and all else was fine. While Rene acclimatised to the temperature of the tank, I gave it a spruce. I rinsed the filter media in a bucket of tank water, removed the carbon bag and added JBL PhosEX Ultra. It should remove phosphates from the water and last 6 months to a year (absorbs 18000mg of phosphate). I removed the carbon to facilitate the Interpet Anti Hair Algae I added to the water. The instructions recommend dosing once a week for four weeks. I’m not sure when I can safely put the carbon back in the filter basket though so I’ll have to try and find online forum advice. Does anyone out there have advice about this?

*LFS = Local fish shop. I think I picked this up from wise fish-friend Slimnexus.
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Betta Buddies and Apple & Ramshorn Snails

Two female Bettas have joined the community along with three snails; an Apple and two Ramshorn. The larger Betta (in the first pic) pecked at a Ramshorn Snail when I added them all to the tank yesterday. I haven’t seen that snail at all today and the other is looking pretty lifeless… Maybe it’s resting. In a fish’s tummy?! The Apple Snail is a big bruiser and is cruising around happily.

I read that female Bettas establish a pecking order but do not tear at one another as the males do. One is much larger than the other so there should be no indecision there. Mr Cichlid is interacting with the larger lady quite a lot. Mrs Cichlid is spending a lot of time in the plant attached to stone and warns off any fish who come too close. Maybe they have decided on their territory at last, spurred on by the new additions.

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Phantom Pregnancies, Water Changing & New Fish

I was convinced my three female platys were pregnant, as Randy had chased them around a lot waggling his pointy fin. Plus they all grew bigger bellies. There hasn’t been any sign of fry so perhaps I am mistaken, maybe Randy hasn’t actually caught up with any of the ladies…maybe the girls eat a lot…maybe the fry have already popped out and been eaten?? But Lemony, Netty and Minnie do still have big bellies. The pic shows Minnie, Lemony and Randy.

I did a water change yesterday using water from the cold tap in a couple of buckets, with added boiling water from the kettle. I tested the temperature with a glass thermometer and it was the same as the tank water. I added Aqua Plus to remove the chlorine of course before adding to the tank. I’ll do it that way again as it was better than leaving a couple of buckets of water under the dining table overnight to get up to room temperature – an accident waiting to happen as I am very clumsy! I wiped the sides of the tank with a sponge and trimmed a couple of leaves from the plants that were covered in hairy algae. I think this might be growing as we have had a rare bit of English sun which falls on the tank. No brit sunshine any more so hopefully the algae will reduce.

Lastly, I’m planning a trip to the fish shop this weekend. More fish! More fish! More fish!

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New Fish Alert!

Hi there, the tank community is slowly growing. Today I added a male and female Golden Dwarf Cichlid, three who-knows-what-sex Sterba’s Corydoras and one big female Bristlenose Catfish. Thanks to my super sister-in-law, I had Maidenhead Aquatics vouchers for my birthday and spent many on my new fish. I added a piece of bogwood from Nancy* the Bristlenose’s tank and three little terracotta flower pots from a garden centre.

All fish seem happy and alert and the Platy ladies still look full-bellied and pregnant so I’m glad not to have missed any action. Randy has been trying to get some action but hasn’t had any joy this evening. The Scissors are shoaling nicely and George and Speckled Jim are as elusive as usual.

The picture shows the mighty mouth of Nancy, a couple of Corys and the male Cichlid.

*Final fish thought: does everyone name their fish, even if they don’t mention this on fish forums or websites?

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George and Jim are Settled In

Speckled Jim is strutting around his manor tonight. No longer hiding under the log, he is scurrying about, climbing over plants and even climbed the glass in front of my camera. The show off. I’m not sure how much algae clearing he is doing but George is always on the job. They both posed in the same plant for this photo opportunity.

I tested the water this afternoon and the ammonia is still at 0ppm and Nitrates at 10ppm.

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