Yes, we have a third batch of cichlid eggs being watched over constantly. Some look white, some clear and I’m sure they all look tasty to the other tank residents!
One of my two apple snails died a couple of days ago. It had retracted into its shell much more than usual and on closer inspection, the shell like ‘door’ had been nibbled. The foul smell was not as long lived in my nostrils as last time so I must have netted it out just in time. Phew.
The last thing to note is the unusually round belly on a small upside down catfish. It is swimming normally but hanging around the big one more than usual (the boss of the white rock, seen at the top of the photo). I’ve read that they are very unlikely to breed in a home aquarium but I’ve also seen a YouTube clip of one with bloat and mine is nowhere near that swollen. Can it be an eggy belly? I hope so as I don’t want a sick fish. On the bright side, the other day we noticed threeupside downies; I thought there were only two left of the original four so that’s a result!
Thanks for reading and if anyone has suggestions about my catfish then please do let me know. I’ll keep you posted.
I’m afraid the cichlid eggs vanished (into fishes mouths?!) a couple of days ago. The smilers are happily swimming together, flaring their fins and looking fine so I’m sure they’ll conjure up some more eggs in the future.
The top-dog red rainbow is still a beautiful sparkling red and asserting his authority. Nancy is still the most skittish fish I’ve ever seen. Any slight movement from us non-fish folk and she is zooming under her bogwood. I was pleased to creep up on her today and get a picture….before she swam off at top speed.
For the first time, I heard the clowns ‘clicking’ at one another while competing over a food pellet like a couple of snuffling piglets. Hooray, my fish can talk!
So…the eggs disappeared from the leaf after a couple of days and the little cichlids are cruising around the tank again. The smaller always follows the larger and they smile, smile, smile.
The introduction of the 11 new fish has been a positive influence on all the fishies, especially the clown loaches who now swim amongst the rainbows and come to the surface at feeding time, barbels twitching!
I have done two partial water changes this week already, one before I put the newbies in on Sunday and again on Thursday but I will test and do another change tomorrow as there will be a period of adjustment while the good bacteria catches up with the increased bioload. Thanks for advice received!
All fish are still doing very well and the tank looks great again. I spotted the two Dwarf cichlids (Laetacara curviceps) circling around a flat leaf which seems to be scattered with eggs. Perhaps I don’t have gay fish after all… I’m not sure how long they will last in this tank but it is exciting to see.
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.
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…