Hi all, long time no blog! I’ve taken a few pictures this afternoon of the tank as a whole and I’ve tried to capture some new fish.
Dead Fish and New Fish:
Big Boi the Dwarf Gourami now has two lady friends: Betty and Betty Too (yes, Too not Two!). Sadly Mrs C died a few days ago quite suddenly so Mr C the Dwarf Cichlid (Apistogramma Borelli) now has new lady loves as well now. Randy is also as happy as ever as a while ago I replaced the late Lemony with a new black Platy lady.
My husband went Upside Down Catfish crazy and bought four for my tank this weekend (along with the female cichlids – thank you!) They are very striking with their big round eyes, paler backs, snazzy markings and big whiskers (hmmm, ‘whiskers’ may not be the correct fishkeep’s term, sorry!)
I haven’t seen the last remaining Pygmy Sparkling Gourami for weeks so assume that it has been eaten. They were an unsuccessful addition (sorry little fishies) so I won’t be replacing them.
Male Dwarf Gourami in a Funny Mood:
Big Boi has been acting a bit differently for a week or so and seems more lethargic, mostly hanging about in a corner. He has also done some ghostly ’empty’ poops. It is sad not to see him spitting water and building bubble nests. Maybe he is fed up of me clearing out the dead plant nests as they start to rot…
I asked the LFS for advice and it was suggested my Nitrites (?) may be high but they were at zero yesterday. The pH is the same as ever BUT I was surprised that the Nitrates are high. Yesterday they were at 40ppm, which is the worst it’s ever been. I did a partial water change of course. Today the Nitrates were between 20ppm and 40ppm and I did another partial water change. I plan to do another test and change tomorrow and for however long it takes to bring it to a reasonable level. I am guilty of neglecting my testing so I’ll get the water back up to scratch and make sure I test every week as a rule.
I will keep you posted.
Egg Roll and a Tiddler:
Today I’ve seen what looks like bright white speckles here and there on the mopani root and bogwood so I am hoping they are eggs. I’m surprised the snails haven’t slurped them up by now. Two of the three shrimps seem to be on a roll of egg production at the moment. They keep fanning the eggs with their many legs. Is that why they have so many limbs?! Lastly, I saw a tiny tiddler in the tank last night after the lights were turned off. How exciting to think a fish has survived the perils of the tank. I haven’t seen it again yet though…
As I suggested in my last post, the frogs had to go and the LFS took them back with no problem. They told me that the dwarf variety was hard to come by but I would buy some if I come across them in the future.
I cleaned the tank today and did a good water change. I’m finding myself to be more confident about the state of the tank and the inhabitants and don’t obsessively water test any more. I always do a hearty water change each week and all is as it should be.
The platys, particularly Minnie, have impressed me with their awesome pooping ability…they must be trying to cheer me up after taking the frogs back. Look at the size of that…it looks like a couple of long dashes as it has a clearer part in the middle…morse code?…..too much information??!!!
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…
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.
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.
I was convinced my three female platys were pregnant, as Randy had chased them around a lot waggling his pointy fin. Plus they all grew bigger bellies. There hasn’t been any sign of fry so perhaps I am mistaken, maybe Randy hasn’t actually caught up with any of the ladies…maybe the girls eat a lot…maybe the fry have already popped out and been eaten?? But Lemony, Netty and Minnie do still have big bellies. The pic shows Minnie, Lemony and Randy.
I did a water change yesterday using water from the cold tap in a couple of buckets, with added boiling water from the kettle. I tested the temperature with a glass thermometer and it was the same as the tank water. I added Aqua Plus to remove the chlorine of course before adding to the tank. I’ll do it that way again as it was better than leaving a couple of buckets of water under the dining table overnight to get up to room temperature – an accident waiting to happen as I am very clumsy! I wiped the sides of the tank with a sponge and trimmed a couple of leaves from the plants that were covered in hairy algae. I think this might be growing as we have had a rare bit of English sun which falls on the tank. No brit sunshine any more so hopefully the algae will reduce.
Lastly, I’m planning a trip to the fish shop this weekend. More fish! More fish! More fish!
Some fish, like the Corys, are shy of the paparazzi but not these three. Netty is the bulbous bellied beacon, grumpy Mr C is sandwiched in the middle and George is manfully supporting the stack. Fish are sooo clever and what great balance…
The shrimp and catfish must be good clean folk: Ammonia test showed 0ppm today and Nitrates are still at 10ppm. Jim has done some serious peeking today from behind the log. He must be exhausted as he peaked yesterday.
The pic shows Minnie, one of the newer Platys. I only noticed when I got her home that she is a ‘Mickey Mouse Platy’ (Scientific Name: Xiphophorus maculatus); note the Disney advertising space on her tail end.
Randy, my one male Platy is so happy with his three female companions. The pic shows how easy it is to tell that he is male (all livebearers exhibit sexual dimorphism, i.e. external physical signs of being male or female). Look at that gonopodium!* I’ve seen Randy waving this around when he’s chasing one of his ladies. Bendy!
*The gonopodium is a modified anal fin which is used to fertilize eggs. In the male the anal fin is rod shaped, while the female has a traditional fan shaped anal fin. That’s fish-fact!!!
My 2 Columbian Tetras were not happy. The larger one was terrorising the smaller by constant chasing and nipping so Zippy (yes, I named it) was showing signs of stress, i.e. hiding, not eating, gasping. Zippy also suffered a nip taking out a piece of fin. So Columbian Tetras can be nippy, can bully and may improve if they are in a greater number (online forum advice). I decided it’s not worth the risk as I want a peaceful hippy community which will probably include guppies and a Siamese Fighting fish. I could envisage some ravaged fins. Today I took the two back to the pet shop and they were reintegrated into a larger colony. I came home with another 2 x female platys and 3 x scissor tailed rasboras. Randy (the only male platy) is VERY happy and the scissors are shoaling nicely. I did my first partial water change (6%) tonight too…