New Fish to Replace the Dead

Today I have five new African cichlids waiting patiently (for now) in their bags floating in the tank. After recent fish loss that I put down to a low pH and kH, it will be good to replenish the population.

Maidenhead Aquatics in Appley Bridge tested the water and told me it was in good shape but I needed to gradually up the kH over a week as it was at 5. They keep their stock at 5 so the new fish should acclimatise well then join the others in enjoying the increasing kH levels.

The new additions:
1 x electric blue hap
1 x red fin kadango
1 x fusco hap
1 x albino peacock
1 x mystery fish – they are getting back to me on the proper name!

I hope all you fish keepers out there are enjoying your weekend.

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Aquarium Number 2 Unveiled!

Thanks to Super Husband I have a second 200 litre Fluval aquarium (with Aquamanta EFX 200 external filter) as a birthday gift which I am starting up as a Cichlid tank. So far, I have spent two hours assembling the flat pack of a cabinet (possibly the least clear assembly ‘instructions’ I’ve ever seen – and I HAVE assembled Ikea furniture and a flat pack greenhouse!), rinsed a bumper bag of fine gravel and added 21 pieces of lava rock.

My LFS, Clipsley Lane Aquatics in Haydock, supplied the lava rocks. All are a decent size and have multiple holes in which the fishies can hide. Thanks to their patience, I took a lot of time browsing and considering the best solution for a good Mbuna Cichlid environment. I had thought of buying a fake rock thingy that would have filled most of the length of the tank but it didn’t have the proper cave and hiding places I thought the cichlids would like. I ended up borrowing a big metre rule and hauling all the lava rocks off the shelf to try to imagine their placement in the tank. I bought so many and we are regulars so the lovely Boss Lady gave me a discount (thanks!).

We had a trip to Maidenhead Aquatics in Appley Bridge and with the patient and detailed assistance from Alison, I came away with 6 new Mbuna Malawi Cichlids to start the tank: 3 x Pseudotropheus sp. “Acei” or Ngara White Tail and 3 x Labidochromis caeruleus or Yellow Lab. From reading various websites and forums, I understood that one tank could only keep Mbuna (rock dwellers), Haps OR Peacocks. After my conversation with Alison and the introduction of these relatively peaceful Mbuna, my options are to introduce more Mbuna or I could add some Peacocks. A long as the size of the fish is suitable and they have an agreeable (for cichlids) temperament, I am happy to keep Mbuna and Peacocks. It will be another four weeks at least before I add more. I will see how the good bacteria cope with the first gang.

I love fish!

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Rene the Bristlenose Has Landed

I had a call today from a lovely lady at Maidenhead Aquatics with the fine news that they had a Bristlenose Catfish in stock. Nancy has been waiting for her boyfriend for a while and he is a similar size to her. The shop seems to get them in so young sometimes that it is not immediately possible to tell the sex. Rene is a beauty. His bristles are fantastic. The photo is of him in the transporting bag but he is now in the tank…in Nancy’s favourite spot hanging on the underside of the planted bogwood. I hope she gets the courage to join him. The woman who sold him to me said he had once belonged to her but she did not have any breeding success, so brought him to the shop to sell. A customer did buy him, but them returned him as he wasn’t wanted for some reason. I want you Rene!!!

I took a couple of (tank!) water samples the the LFS* today for them to test the phosphate level as I believe this is a major cause of hairy algae and I have rather a lot of it at the moment. The level was ‘high’ and all else was fine. While Rene acclimatised to the temperature of the tank, I gave it a spruce. I rinsed the filter media in a bucket of tank water, removed the carbon bag and added JBL PhosEX Ultra. It should remove phosphates from the water and last 6 months to a year (absorbs 18000mg of phosphate). I removed the carbon to facilitate the Interpet Anti Hair Algae I added to the water. The instructions recommend dosing once a week for four weeks. I’m not sure when I can safely put the carbon back in the filter basket though so I’ll have to try and find online forum advice. Does anyone out there have advice about this?

*LFS = Local fish shop. I think I picked this up from wise fish-friend Slimnexus.
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