Eggs, death and a bulbous belly

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.

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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!

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Rene is Here to Stay?

Just a quickie to tell you that Rene the bristlenose catfish is doing well and I hope is here to stay. He has one blister on his side that I can see and overall seems a lot smoother and back to his normal handsome self. He also seems to have eaten an algae wafer a day for two days; previously I was fishing out the uneaten wafers. He also seems to be behaving more normally, moving around more often and being his usual shy self when he is startled.

He is still in his small hospital tank and I’ve been changing 2/3 of the water every day and adding ‘cycle’ drops to the water. I’m so pleased not to have lost him and hope he is 100% soon.

In the community, Big Boi is building his THIRD nest. I’m afraid I destroyed the beginnings of the last one when I gave the tank a thorough cleaning when I first noticed fish illness. He has now forgiven me and trusts me enough not to mess with this one…

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Bristlenose Rene is Hanging In There

The lovely Rene is still doing ok. I moved him into a small tank on his own yesterday after watching the male dwarf cichlid Mr C dart at him (picture of the offender below) making contact with his body and almost knocking him off his leaf! He did this three times before I had the tank ready. This is the first time I’ve seen this behaviour. Perhaps because the plant attached to rock that Rene was suctioned to is a favourite of Mr and Mrs C. Two shrimp are happily munching on this plant tonight but this does not seem to offend them. Yet…

Rene still has bubble blisters at his tail end but I’m keeping a close eye on him. He is near the heater (with guard cage) in the pics. Come on Rene!

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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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