Friday, 23 January 2009

a more peaceful cichlid setup

i've had cichlids in my fishtank at home now for about 2 months and have learnt a lot. with the little experience i have had with cichlids and what i had read, i thought i could easily change my fishtank from a semi-aggressive community setup to one with similar inhabitants but also with the addition of a couple of species of cichlid. well i was a bit wrong...

my initial interest with american cichlids was not only that they were bigger, more colourful and seemingly much more intelligent. it was their behaviour during breeding that interested me along with the parental care of their young. i really want to witness a breeding pair of cichlids looking after their own fry.

the first thing i did about 3 weeks ago was to take the now obviously smaller ( harassed ) male blue acara back to the pet shop in timperly. the shop still had most of the rainbow cichlids from my previous visit. so i sat in front of their fishtank for about a good 10/15 minutes watching them and trying to discern which were female. the reason for me spending such a long time was because it was almost impossible! they all seemed to look so similar, but i had read that it was particularly tricky to tell the sexes apart with these fish. i picked 2 and took them home.

during the next week i watched the fish quite closely whenever i was able to. it didn't take long for it to dawn on me that this setup was wrong. i had 6 yo-yo loaches and 12 barbs zipping all over the fishtank, creating havoc at feeding time and generally not being conducive to the central american setup i now intended to keep.

i took all 12 barbs and 6 yo-yo loaches back to my still all time favourite shopoasis aquarium in salford and part exchanged them for 8 captive bredcorydoras sterbai. oasis gave me 2/3 of their sale price for the returned fish and i ended up paying £62 (corys) - £38 (barbs+yo-yos) = £24.

3 weeks later and all is well. i am still not certain if any of the rainbow cichlids are female but they never do each other any harm, they just occasionally chase each other out of the way. the remaining acara seems happy enough and never chases the rainbows, if anything the rainbow with red eyes seems to be the owner of the fishtank now. the acara generally swims all over the fishtank pleasing himself. and finally, the corys are fantastic. having 8 of them and watching them form small groups or one big group, especially at feeding time is great as they busily rummage around looking for food and adventure!. :-)

as you can see, the cichlids like the camera. :-)

Sunday, 28 December 2008

two rainbow cichlids arrive

i have just finished acclimatizing two rainbow cichlids i bought this morning from a new found pet hop i visited yesterday. i'd heard there was an aquarium shop in timperly up the road from my house and yesterday, while i still had access to a car, i decided to try and find it. and find it i did. :-)

initial impressions of the shop are good with some species of fish i'd never seen in any of the usual shops i visit. and you guessed it, i fell for the charms of the rainbow cichlids. after having introduced two blue acara cichlids into the tank about a month or so ago (see previous post), i have been researching what would be another suitable cichlid species to add to the tank. not having read about or seen this species before, i decided to go home and read up on their habits and requirements like a good sensible fish keeper :-)

i was going to take back one of the acaras as one is definitely being picked on by the other. one is now in perfect condition and the other still has his fins torn and i have seen him bullied by the other. nothing too alarming but it is obvious that it is not ideal for the less dominant male. however, due to circumstance, i did not manage to take one back and thought i would at a later date.

sitting here watching the 4 cichlids and writing this blog it looks to me like the cichlids are all behaving extremely well towards each other. i know they are 2 male acaras and a male and female rainbow. both the acaras have come and had a nosy at the rainbows as if to say "jolly nice day isn't it?" and then happily moved on and both the acaras seem happier about each other at the moment. as to whether or not the two rainbow cichlids decide to pair up then only time will tell.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

still here

has it been a year since i posted anything on here? a lot has happened in the land of aquariums since then. i've decided to get back into writing about the fishtanks and their various inhabitants. at the moment i have all the fish in the 180 litre tank at home. the 70 litre tank has been set up behind my desk at work and is currently cycling, more about that one at a later date :-)

as you can see from the picture, the 180 litre tank has been set up completely differently. i am really pleased with the layout of this setup because the fish seem to be really active. the barbs have periods of chasing each other around the tank and quieter periods where they all seem to just hang around together. the yo yo loaches are also very active furrowing through the gravel or relaxing in a group on the gravel.

my current favorites have to be the two blue acaras who were introduced into the tank over the weekend. i asked the man in the shop for a male and a female in the hope that they might pair up and breed in the tank. the fish in the shop looked a little worse for wear with bits of their fins missing, i guess from having so many in one tank, which made his choosing one of each sex a little difficult. i think the healthier one, whose fins are nearly all in tact, is a male but i am not so sure about the other one, whose fins have been bitten at quite a lot. they seem to be okay with each other swimming close to one another with only the occasional nudge so maybe they are of the opposite sex. i'm sure it will become clearer as the fishes fins heal and the grow a little larger.

so, without over doing it, thats enough for my first post in ages. :-)

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

definately something in the water

not had time to do much blogging on the fish tank activities, but thats not to say that there has not been much going on. quite the contrary! :-) so here is a quick update on both fishtanks. :-)

70 litre

two of the butterfly cichilds (rams) have definately paired up. it started with me first of all finding a dead bronze cory catfish. :-( then, a couple of days later, i find one of the rams dead, in the same spot. :-(. prior to this all the fish had seemed to be living in harmony with no noticable signs of fighting or stress but, i had also noticed the flirtacious behaviour of two of the rams. just to be on the cautious side, i did a slightly larger than normal water change a couple of days later, even though the water parameters read well, as usual.

the next day i get back from work and go and look at the tank and the rams had spawned on the wood on the left side (closest to the window!?) =) and they were both closely guarding the eggs. the next morning, all the eggs were gone, eaten by the parents at a guess. i read that they often do this a few times before finally getting it right and raising their young so i wasn't too dismayed.

180 litre

tonight i have just noticed that there are at least another three halfbeak fry =). the first batch i moved to the smaller tank but i think i might leave these ones down here and see how they get on. i don't think they are under too much threat from being eaten by their parents as they are about the same size as the threadfins and there are plenty of hiding places in the form of floating plants for them to hide in.

Saturday, 26 May 2007

must be something in the water...

last night, i had time to sit down and look at the main fish tank fo a while. i could hardly believe my eyes! the female celebes halfbeak had given birth!! i could see a total of 3 halfbeak fry (fry seems the wrong word to use for these guys, they are 2cm long at birth!). from my research i understand that this species will give birth to up to 12ish young at a time and that the adults will eat their own if they are given half a chance. maybe there were more and they have already been eaten or maybe, like a guppy, the halfbeak will give birth in several sessions. i don't know.

this morning, after this video was taken, i moved the fry into the smaller tank to try and ensure their survival. there are two possible preditors in the 180 for these guys, their parents and the pictus catfish. while i touch on this topic, briefly i will mention that both these fish seem completely dis-interested in the new threadfin rainbow fish - i will post later the story of their rather traumatic, but ultimately successful intoduction into the tank. for now, check out the video of the halfbeaks. =)

gold nugget

its been a little while now since the gold nugget was introduced to the tank and he seems to be doing just fine. here is a very short video of him at feeding time. ammusingly he sems to go into a feding frenzy whenever i feed the other fish around 6.30pm. around morning feeding time, he doesn't seem to care less, i guess because he has been stuffing his face all night. he is a dude! =)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

d.i.y. co2 injection

so, i have a fair few plants in the aquarium now and after reading other peoples aquarium blogs, it seems a cheap way of getting plants to flourish is to get more carbon dioxide into the water. thus reducing the amount of energy and effort the plants need to expend in order to assimilate the co2.

you can spend a fortune on co2 cannisters, injection systems, reactors and diffusers if you choose, or you can do what i have just done and make your own. basically as follows. one empty 2 litre coke bottle, tube into another smaller bottle, then tube out of that into the power head where the water is returned into the tank. plus arildite. then, filled the 2 litre bottle just less than half full of warm water(so i can lie it on a shelf hidden away). added to this 1+1/2 cups of sugar and mix lots. then add mixture of acivated yeast - 1/2 tsp mixed vigorously in a little warm water. re-assemble, et voila! it took about 2 hours for co2 to start being produced. i tested it with an airstone initially to see if any gas was being emitted, which is was so job done!

a word of warning for anyone who wants to do this. i have added safety features to the d.i.y. kit including a valve which will blow off if the pressure is too much, rather this than a room coated in smelly brown yeast mixture! and finally, co2 is produced faster during the day when it is warmer - which is fine as this is when plants do their photosynthesis and use up the co2. in the evening co2 is still produced but at a slower rate. i need to monitor the effect this is going to have on the pH, co2 + water = carboic acid, not sure if this reaction will take place i need to research but i have read plenty which tells me the pH will be effected and that it will also flucuate between night and day. i don't think i need to worry so much as it is only a small amount of co2 going into the tank but it will be interesting to note nonetheless. don't worry about the fish, they like it a bit acidic - until i started this experiment my pH hovered around the 6.4 mark.