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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Betty Two is No More & Clowns Love Pipes!

My last dwarf gourami, the lovely blue Betty Two died on Monday. She had been a bit lethargic for a couple of days which was very noticeable as she was a happy wriggler and always one of the first to the food. I didn’t see any signs of illness other than that so maybe she was an old dear.

The larger of the two smiley cichlids had a small white lump with a pale pink line around it on its chin but over the last 5 days it has healed and become more white that pink. It did have some of the white stuff hanging off one day and I saw the smaller one nibble at it. Yuk, but it was probably just helping it! Since then the lump has shrunk and there hasn’t been any change in behaviour. I took out a piece of broken flowerpot thinking perhaps it has injured itself on something in the tank. I hope that the pink part of the ulcer/wound fading away means that it is healing. I did buy some Melafix and some aquarium salt but haven’t felt the need to use either; better to let it heal naturally than add extra stuff to the water.

On a happy note, all the other fishies are doing very well. The red and neon rainbow fish are very lively and the clown loaches are constantly entertaining. I added some pieces of plastic pipe bound with an elastic band, weighted with a piece of plant pot and the clowns love them. I thought they may be a little too big but they squeeze in quite happily. I’ve also seen an upside down catfish in there and even Stephen the bristlenose catfish. Now I really wouldn’t have thought there’d be room for that bristle beard.

I’ve been doing partial water changes every few days for the last couple of weeks as I did overdo it putting so many new fish in at once but it has worked out okay as I’ve been putting the extra work in and testing most days.

One of the red rainbows turned VERY orangey red on the first day which I understand means he is the dominant male. The thing is, I can’t tell the sex of the other fish. Oh the mysteries of the deep…

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Newbies Transform the Aquarium

I am pleased to say that I have 11 new fish! They are a Christmas present from my super husband and I couldn’t be more pleased.

We went to Amazon Aquatics (in Leigh, Lancashire) for the second time after buying the very healthy and successful clown loaches before Xmas. They have a great selection and I was happy to be helped by the owner yesterday. I bought the following:

4 x Red Rainbow Glossolepis incisus
2 x Sheephead Acara/Dwarf Flag Cichlid/Smiling Acara (tricky fellows with many aliases!) Laetacara curviceps
5 x Praecox Rainbow Melanotaenia praecox

I wanted more cichlids suitable for the community as I really miss the behaviour of the late Apistogramma borellis, following one another around and swimming in a stop/start fashion. This pair are beauties and have shown a variety of colours. They follow one another around and act as though they are a ‘pair’ (this attracted me to them in the shop) but their markings and fin shapes look like male attributes. Hard to tell I know but maybe they behave that way as they were the last two in the shop, sticking together or maybe I’ve got some peaceful gay fish. Either way, they are smashing and they SMILE!

The Rainbowfish were not a fish I had really considered but I asked for recommendations for my tank and the owner kindly found a book packed with colour photos of the different types and what their colours could or would be. I’m very pleased. The Reds are very brave and follow me if I am near the tank, they shoal with the Scissor tailed Rasboras, with the little Rainbows or on their own. As I write, I’ve noticed one of the Reds has changed to a bright orangey red colour and seems to be asserting its authority. What a huge colour change!

The Praecox are a smaller variety and have been hanging out near the surface adding interest to that neglected area. Their scales shine and look neon blue under the lights (they ARE also known as Neon Rainbows).

The whole tank looks so much more lively and the peaceful interaction is perfect for my community. Hopefully it will stay that way but who’s to say?!

I’ve tried to capture them in the pics, which also show some oldies…and an egg-filled shrimp hanging upside down.

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Cichlid Egg Surprise!

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.

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