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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No Fish Young ‘Uns to Report…

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.

I love my fish!

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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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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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