Cichlid Bite, Eggy Mouth & Peaceful Fish

I’ve been doing a partial water change and ‘hoovering’ the fine gravel in my African cichlid tank once or twice a week. They are doing well, always hungry and active and I’ve got two breeding nets hanging on the tank; one has my first baby fish, the other more recent triplets, found when doing a tank clean. I only have a big mopani root and lava rocks in there so I move everything to one side, clean, then do the other side. This is how I discovered and netted the slow moving fish babies.

I have only seen evidence of the blue Acei breeding, the male chasing the females and the larger female with a mouthbrood of eggs. Last night I noticed she has another mouthful! A least she seems to get 3 or 4 weeks between eggs to eat and recover. She is the blue one in the pics with a slightly baggy chin.

The flamboyant male Strawberry Peacock rammed into my arm the last time I was rock moving and nibbled at me. Unfortunately I didn’t have any mark on my arm to show off but really it is a good thing he has such small teeth! I have read online about cichlids attacking human arms in their tanks if they are protecting young or territory. It made me shriek and laugh a lot! A brave fishie.

The original peaceful community tank is doing well. The male Lace gouramis have lovely skirts and seem to be defending territories, the clown loaches pile up together, hide in the tubes and generally mill around. The shrimp are still with us, popping into view occasionally and the rainbows, cory, bristlenose catfish and scissor tailed Rasboras are all living well.

A while back the male bristlenose Stephen was wedged into a smaller ridged tube I had in the tank. I had to cut the tube with scissors to free him which was a bit scary and he suffered nibbled/shredded fins, the poor thing. He took a while to calm down afterwards and has miraculously GROWN BACK his missing fin parts! I can only imagine they are like re grown skin over the structure of his fin bones. Good boy, Stephen.

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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😀

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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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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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