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!

20120723-163109.jpg

20120723-163127.jpg

20120723-163142.jpg

20120723-163149.jpg

20120723-163157.jpg

20120723-163209.jpg

20120723-163455.jpg

20120723-163501.jpg

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!

20120706-192908.jpg

20120706-192945.jpg

20120706-193029.jpg

20120706-193144.jpg

Help! Rene the Bristlenose Has Blisters!

Poor Rene the Bristlenose catfish has what look like skin blisters of varying sizes (1-3mm) one or two on each side lower down under his fins. His abdomen also looks bloated. I have done a water change today as the main advice I read online is to do this. I think he may be sensitive to the anti-bacterial drops I’ve been putting in the tank for the last 4 days (5 day treatment period). If this is the case, I am hoping the lumps will heal when I stop the treatment. I’ve been adding Waterlife brand Myxazin which contains Formaldehyde 0.12% w/w, Malachite Green 0.085% and Acriflavine Hydrochloride 0.055% w/w. I have used the full recommended dose for the small tank with 4 x Sparkling Gouramis, and HALF the dose for the main 200L tank as I know the Bristlenoses, Corys and Suckermouth may be sensitive to the stuff.

Any words of advice would be appreciated. Should I dose the tank tomorrow with the last day of treatment or skip this to see if Rene recovers? I’ve found it difficult to find information online on this specific problem. These fish get a bloated abdomen when they are experiencing kidney failure but I’m hoping it’s not that bad and why the bubble blisters?!?

I have posted a photo of Rene, one blister shows as a light grey blur. I’ll add better photos.

20120521-223542.jpg

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.

20120517-214042.jpg

20120517-214052.jpg

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.
20120415-191738.jpg

20120415-191746.jpg

20120415-191753.jpg

Minnie Inspects Big Boi (the new Dwarf Gourami)

New fish joined the tank yesterday. Minnie the Platy approves of Big Boi the male Dwarf Gourami as you can see.

20120410-201037.jpg
His mate is a beautiful female blue Dwarf Gourami. Betty is beautifully coloured and looks great against the plants and under the tank lights. I’d quite like another few of these ladies.

20120410-201657.jpg