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.

Monday, 7 May 2007

which gold nugget are you?

still not having managed to get a decent photo of the new little gold nugget pleco, i have been doing some research on planetcatfish and have come across this article concerning the identification of the species.

there are, it seems three distinct species of gold nugget, all originating from different points along river iriri in rio (L085 being the adult form of L018). after reading the article and the descriptions of each type i am fairly confident that i have bought species L081, not L177 as was stated in the shop. i knew L177 would not grow larger than 20cm which is why i wanted it, aside from the fish being really pretty to look at. however, if it is L081 then this is fine also as this species shouldn't exceed more than 18cm. i hope it is not the other remaining species, L018/L085 as this one could grow up to 35cm! and that is too big! i will certainly be informing the shop keeper of his error, especially since he was a bit of a smart-arse. i imagine the price for each fish is the same (i paid £25 for a 5cm specimen!) as they all come from the same place, but thats not the point.

Saturday, 5 May 2007

in with the new

as i mentioned in my last post, i took the large pleco and the tawny-dragon catfish to salford and exchanged them for the following. 1 golden nugget pleco who is beautiful, black with tiny whitespots and an orange/yellow band along the edge of its dorsal and tail fins. i've not managed to get a picture of him yet. however, i did manage to get a nice picture of one of the 2 red whiptail catfish i also recieved. they are tiny, probably about 2.5cm long each.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

drop-in / drop-out

if you visist this site regularly and pay any attention then you may have noticed that the silver-tip population has decreased quite severly in the past few weeks( 9--> 1). the reason being?, you might ask.... and i would answer, one tawny-dragon catfish. adopted (and published in the local rag) from knutsford, this fish has almost doubled in size since i took him(her?) into my care. this fish is getting far too big for his boots. last night, about half an hour after all the other fish had fisnished clearing up their tea, he decides to do a fishtank recon and god help any fish that is in his way! clown loaches? nudge, nip, chase out of the way. red-tailed sand loach (quite a feisty geezer himself), went "no thanks!" and legged it. and this one god-smacked me... one 25+ cm pleco.... barged into and chased out of the way. he wasn't having any of it either.

so, he is going to oasis aquatics in salford for his crimes. i think i may as well take the opportunity to take mr pleco as well. 25cm is a large fish for the largest aquarium even if it is 180 litres. he is just too clumsy and is going to keep on growing for a while yet (i've seen some identical specimens of around the 35cm mark), so, reluctantly i will take him as well.

the good thing about oasis aquatics is that the claim to give you 2/3 the price of what they will sell your fish for, so i am hoping i can do a straight swap for two other sucker mouth catfish which will not exceed approx 20cm each in length. maybe a whiptail catfish and something else, not sure yet. rest assured i will post an update as soon as the exchange is made.

Saturday, 28 April 2007

life in 180

having spent a lot of time (prolly too much time) trying to set the 180 litre tank up satisfactorily. trying and failing to get it set up with enough hiding places to keep the fish happy but generally ending up with far too many nooks and crannys for the fish to hide in. they just hid all day long. so i left the tank for about a month to just settle and let the fish relax, maybe they will start to come out again.

they never did come out. so i decided to spend all afternoon yesterday to do a "once-and-for-all" job on the layout. what i have achieved i am most pleased with. i have used the largest piece of driftwood to cover the left side of the tank and redice the amount of direct sunlight entering the tank. i went about setting up the rest of the decor with the intention of leaving no hiding places at all. trying to get rocks and wood to sit next to each other with no gaps at all was rather difficult and invariably there are a few places where fish can still hide, but this is a good thing. i'll edit this post and put a picture up when the light is good to get a nice pic.

during the process of cleaning i noticed that i only had 3 silver-tipped tetras left when i knew i had 9 to start with. and that tawny-dragon catfish has grown very quickly, its not hard to deduce what has been happening here. ah well, i figured this would happen but didn't think it would be so soon. so i am left with a very spcious aquarium which now needs some new fish. i've decided to keep fewer, larger fish so next time i go to one of the fish stockists i will be asking them their opinions on what would be most suitable for my tank.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

video of the tank just after feeding time curtesy of the visiting pascal, sonia's friend from paris.

and..... i went to Oasis Aquatics in salford for the second time. the place is amazing and has become, in just two visits, my favorite stockist of tropical fish. the amount of equipment and fish is huge and i have never seen so many rare (and expensive) fish before. there were a lot i have never seen before and they all looked in such good condition.

so, you guessed it, i bought a few fish. 4 celebes halfbeaks for the 180 tank to ocupy the top zone and a little bristlenose pleco which wont get any bigger than about 12cm, to control the algy situation which has arisen. more to come on those another time, they have only been in the tank for about an hour. :-)

Friday, 23 March 2007

70 litre update

yesterday i decided to move the siamese fighter from the big tank to the smaller one. i originally bought this fish to occupy the top zone in the large tank but after putting him in it became apparent that the current in this tank was too much for him. so i altered the angle of the return in the tank to reduce the circular flow of water. well, this was not a good idea, although the siamese fighter was much happier, the rest of the fish were not. in parrallel to this i had planted quite a few new plants and the fish had started ripping them apart. pretty they were, sturdy they were not.

these two factors compounded and the result was that the filter was getting blocked up daily and subsequently due to the reduced volue of water going through the filter, toxins started to build up and i had to start doing more frequent water changes. on top of this, the smallest clown loach got ich (white spot) for which he is now being treated (not to worry, i've cured the other three clowns of ich before now when they were smaller as well... small clown loaches are quite prone to ich with the slightest stress so i'm not suprised or worried)

the solution. get rid of the delicate plants and the siamese fighter is now in the 70 litre tank. the 180 litre tank is back to how it was with a fairly strong current which has increased the activity of (cheered up) the other fish. :-)

other than that i did some maintenance on the 70 litre tank and found the missing red crab, dead in the filter compartment. i'm a bit baffled as to how he scaled the filter box as there is only one hole big enough for it to have gone through and thats on the top. once he fell in, there was no way out..... :-/

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

tawny dragon catfish - adopted

first off, yesterday i picked up one tawny dragon catfish from the petshop in knutsford. the kind woman who works there had decided that he(she) was not suitable for her fishtank as he had started making a meal out of her neon population. so, i said i would have a look at him and if he was suitable i'd take him home. prior to this i had been thinking of what other fish to add to the community and had considered trying a pictus catfish (again - bad results the first time due to the bad man-handling of the fish by the woman at "a drop in the ocean" aquarium near the dirto trafford centre - i won't be going there again for this reason amongst others). this fish is very similar if a little less boistrous so i decided to take him and see how it goes. reading on it says this species is a cold water/sub tropical species but can be maintained up to temperatues around 25 degrees C, which is what my tank setup is at, so that should be fine. i do suspect that he will take a shine to the smaller tetras in the tank once his mouth is big enough.... we shall see.

secondly, i have bought a blue led light to light the tank a little during the morning and evenings between switching on/off the main lights. apparently it is the same wave length as the sun reflecting off the moon at night and people use them in marine setups to try and coax their coral into spawning. h'anyway... it looks very very cool and i shall try and get some decent pictures of it tonight.

and finally, i managed to get a picture of the sand loach and here he is..... int he pretty :-)

Monday, 12 March 2007

and the beat goes on....

a quick update while on my lunch at work... you may have noticed that the resident citizenship in each aquariums has changed somewhat since my last post. with the big fishtank up and running smoothly, having gone through the cycling process sucessfully and after having gradually introduced the fish we currently own, it was time to get them some new play mates.. =)

so, for now, here is a quick update on the 180 litre tank. =)

9 silver tipped tetra - i bought six of thses and then added another three the next day to basically try and liven the tank up a bit. they seem to be really happy, bazzing about the tank, couples keep forming and they show off to each other but their attetion span seems somewhat lacking in that department and they soon go off and try someone else haha.

6 red-eye tetra - increased from our original three to six, they now seem more lively with some mates to hang out. they generally hang around in the middle zone with the silver tips but are not quite as active as they are.

4 clown loach - i spotted one lonely little clown loach in the shop in town oever the weekend and had to get him to add to my other three. brilliant, his addition seems to have perked up the other clowns and now all 4 seem to happily forrage around the tank in a little posse.

1 upside down catfish - looks cool! is currently 10cm long (i bought the smallest one). he seems quite happy if a little shy. he tends to come out more in the evening but hides in the clowns cave or pleasures himself on the bubbles from the airstone most of the time with his new mate mister plec. he is not a particularly upside-downy type of upside down catfish but he does do the upside down thing in the cave and along the branches in the tank. with his big cat like whiskers searching for food. i like him a lot. :-)

1 siamese fighter (betta splenden) - beautiful light blue fish with a black head. he has taken over the small area on the right of the tank near the filter box where the little green lillys are. i had to change the setup of the tank a little after introducing him. he does not like current at all as his fins are so long and the drag effect they have on him while he is swimming is huge. i had to quickly, and i mean really quickly, put a fine mesh over the slats where the intake for the filter is as his tail fins got sucked into it within five minutes of him bening in the tank. and i also changed the direction of the return from the filter from horizontal accross the back (strong current) to vertically up. which still creates a small current but has the added effect of extra aeriation as the water spashes back into the tank. changed the airstone setup slightly so that the is a current in the tank but instead of it being a strong cyclone type current it is more of a barrell motion in the tank now with water rising on the left and decending on the right (a bit)... sort of, ah well maybe you get the idea.....

1 plec - still happily growning, digging up plants and bashing into stuff.

1 ghost shimp - is still a dude!

thats it for now, lunch over so i'll do the update on the 70 litre tank next time.


Friday, 23 February 2007

second pass on 180 litre setup

added a few more plants from knutsford pet shop. got rid of that bit of bog wood i didn't like and replaced it with another one trying to make it look like roots are extending into the gravel. disguised the joins with java moss. did the chemical tests on the water and we're under way. very low amonia, high nitrite and fairly low nitrate which means one of the bacteria colonies (amonia --> nitrite) is establishing itself and the other one (nitrite --> nitrate) is starting to get going. when the levels drop and all i get is nitrates, then i will add the test subjects.... =D

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

first pass on 180 litre setup

here is a picture of the first pass on setting up the 180 litre tank. using 5 pieces of bog wood and some rocks (of some decription) i have tried to break up the line at the back of the tank where the gravel meets the backdrop. 3 types of plant have been placed in the tank. i can't remember then names of them all but one is a kind of lilly pad (on the left, dark red), another is similar to what we have in the 70 litre tank and has the green leaves, placed in the foreground. and finally, i have tied java moss to four loactions on the bog wood. from what i gather this is quite a prolific grower so eventually it should cover a large area of the gravel, rocks and wood.... which should be nice and pretty... =). you may or may not be able to tell but i have started to slope the gravel from the front to the back to enhance the feeling of depth (z axis again ;-p ) and need to add a bit more when i am happy with the scenery.

finally, i'm not entirely happy with the big trunk like piece of wood on the right, it just doesn't fit well enough and i want to try and conceal the filter box more than it currently is. so, next water change, i plan on stealing a few more bits out of the 70 litre tank for which i have a new design in mind. =)

Thursday, 15 February 2007

cats & fish

just another quick update...

firstly, i couldn't resist putting manley, one of our 10 week old kittens in front of the little tank while sonia was getting their tea ready. see the result by clicking on the above image =]

and secondly, at last!!, the 180 litre tank has started its cycling process. i've not put any images of it up yet because a)i don't have any and b)at the moment it is just full of all the bog wood i will be using to set up the landscape. the wood will turn the water brown as the tannins in it are released into the water. should take about 2 weeks for this to stop happening and i may as well get past this stage at the same time as doing the 'cycle' - building up the bacteria colonies.

all good!! =]

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

who's a big boy then...

a few pics of mister pleco who can't wait to go into his new big house, so he tells me... and a pic of the little tank where you can see three of the young guppies.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

the ark has moved!

taking slightly longer than originally anticipated, as these things have a tendancy to do, we finally managed to get the two tanks moved into the new house with zero casualties. after transplanting most of the water from the 70 litre tank into a cool box to put back into the tank at the new location, i thought i would take some of the fish out and move them in the cool box as well. 1,2,3... and 4 guppies all go in without a hitch. after a bit of chasing i managed to net the biggest clown loach and put him in the cool box as well.

he didn't like it.... in approx. 2 seconds he went from a rich orange and black colour (happy) to light grey and orange (not happy). so i thought better of it and put him back in the tank for the move. the move itself was fine, utlilizing a colleague's renault van. senior clown looks quite happy again. :-)

and a little update on the 20 litre tank - all happy in their new location. one of the guppy fry is definately a male as he is starting to develop a nice colour and pattern on his tail fins. and finally, i did get home from work on monday to find the larger of the two shrimp happily eating one of the eyes of his younger bretheren. when i spotted him, he did a legger (literally, he's got loads of legs.. ) and promptly shed his skin next to the thermometer while i fished out his defeated foe. which must have happened faily quickly because i totally missed the event between him running off and me taking out the dead shrimp. ah well, next time maybe.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

move update + pic for the masses..

last night i managed to move the 20 litre tank in the back of a taxi! i was somewhat perturbed by the whole experience, probably more so than the fish themsleves haha!! to cut a hair raising journey short, we all made safe and sound. :-) the tank is now residing in the kitchen where it will be until the 180 litre tank is up and running, for which i am still in the market for a decent piece of furniture to put it on. (cough muuummmmm....)

and finally, to appease my oldest brother and also for anyone else interested, the picture here is of the largest of my two ghost shrimp. i know it is not the best picture in the word but my camera phone refuses to focus properly on something that is nearly transparent. go figure... ;p
thursday = 70 litre move in one of those renault transit style things. this time via a colleague of my girlfriends so fingers crossed for then...

Thursday, 25 January 2007

swim, be free.... - sort of.

just a quick update to keep things rolling. i have just, this weekend, moved into my new house with my girlfriend. this is all well and good and we have now decided where ALL THREE fishtanks will be going. i'm currently shopping for a decent sideboard to put the 180 litre fishtank on. the other two are still at my old residence where i pop in each day just to feed and check on the fish.

a couple of weeks ago i decided to get a decent filter for my 20 litre tank as the one which came with it just wasn't up to the job at the end of the day. i can't believe what a stupid mistake i made.... i replaced the old one with the new one, thinking that there would be enough bacterial activity in the gravel to take care of the waste products. after a couple of days it became apparent that something was drastically wrong. 3 of the neon tetras died in the next two days... i did a water quality check and yup, you guessed it, it was baaaaddd. to cut a long story short i managed to rectify the problem before loosing any more fish and last week the water tests started returning back to normal. phew!

soooo, after checking on the guppy fry last night i decided that they were big enough to look after themselves in the 20 litre tank and subsequently transferred the little fellas accross. i think they really like it, they seem to follow each other around in a mini posse and love swimming against the current from the (new) filter.

i plan on moving this tank and possibly the 70 litre tank to our new house this weekend so fingers crossed it, the move should go smoothly. :-)

and that, is about the size of that..

Thursday, 18 January 2007

who you calling a shrimp?

well, that'll be the two ghost shrimp(s?) i bought yesterday on my way home from knutsford. in the absence of the little sand loach the two cory's in the small tank have failed miserably in keeping their home clean and tidy! sigh...

so, as i often do, i popped into the pet store near where i work on the way to catch the train and after being reassured that they would be okay with the journey i decided to adopt the two shrimp. and they're cool!! they're like little cleaning robots, constantly on the move and they seem to like the fairly strong current (for the tanks size) in the tank. oh yeah, and you can see exactly what they have been eating because they are near enough transparant. groovy. :-)

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

sand loach move

last night i was observing the behaviour of my little sand loach in the smaller tank. i noticed that he was trying to burrow into the gravel but was stopping when he got to the blue, sharper gravel which was supplied with the fishtank. the gravel in this tank is also larger in size than the gravel in my bigger tank and i think this was giving him (her?) difficulty in burrowing as well.

so, i decided that he was big enough (and nippy enough to evade monsieur pleco!) to go into the bigger tank where he will be more able to act upon his natural instinct to burrow under the gravel/sand. this morning i moved the little feller onto greener pastures so to speak and he looks like he is quite happy. (don't ask how i can tell, i just can! ;p )

and finally, just to keep you all informed i do intend on moving the guppy fry into the smaller tank when they are big enough to avoid getting sucked into the filter. i don't think it will be too long before i do this, they're almost 1cm in length now, but still too thin to avoid suction. =D

Saturday, 13 January 2007

70 litre tidy

well, my 70 litre tank had been disturbing me for the last couple of months. as usual the occupants of the tank had done some of their own furniture moving and refitting and this had resulted in the general ground level sloping from the front down to the back. which i didn't like as it made the tank look less deep, thats deep as in the z axis.

so last night i had a bit of a rearrange. i removed some of the dead/dying plants at the back. i transplanted some of the plants back from the 20 litre tank to add extra cover and to disguise the filter box. and finally i have tried to make a terrace using the pebbles and slate, along with the drift wood and have packed it in at the back with more gravel.

the final result i think is much nicer looking and still has hidey holes for the fish. i also prefer having a clearer area at the front where i can drop the big catfish wafers and observe mister plec when he eats.

Friday, 12 January 2007

site update

just a quick update. i've added a couple of new links in the blogs section on the left. phil's homepage - my younder older brother, and also chris dicker's blog - a lad who used to work with me but has since gone on to set up his own animation studio doing something for kids tele, which is nice... =)

thats all for now folks.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

brine shrimp factory

from what i read on raising guppy fry (or any other fish fry for that matter). i gather the best source of protein for the little fellas is live baby brine shrimp. so off i popped down to my local pet shop and lo and behold, they had some in stock.

so, check this badboy out lol. its a coke bottle with the bottom cut off and screwed into the base with an air feed going in at the bottom to create a current in the water. there must be thousands of eggs in there as you can see the water just looks dirty brown but is in fact fully loaded with loads and loads of little eggs. now, obviously the name brine shrimp indicates that they are not a fresh water species at all, and you would be right in thinking that. before using the brine shrimp as food i need to sieve them out of the water and wash the salt off them (with correctly treated/aquarium water).

as always i look forward to the mass genocide that will ensue when i use live food. ;]

Saturday, 6 January 2007

180 litre tank coming soon...

yeah, you read it right. for christmas santa bought me a 180 litre tank setup. grin!! its still sat in its box in my front room for now as i am planning on moving house in less than 4 weeks and setting it up at my current residence would be pointless. so, as frustrating as it is not being allowed to play with my new toy, i guess it is a blessing in disguise as it gives me plenty of time to decide just how i am going to set it up.

i've learnt a lot about setting up aquariums during and since setting up my current tanks. one of my favortie sources of information being the Age of Aquariums website.

what i do know is that i want to transplant at least the 3 clown loaches and the plec, these being the main reason for wanting a bigger tank in the first place as they're getting bigger all the time. well, thats one of my excuses anyway... ;p i also want to concentrate a little more on the planting and landscaping of the tank (otherwise known as aquascaping - oooh ;) ), especially as it is so much bigger (101cm). any suggestions and resources anyone can come up with will be greatfully recieved.

current set ups

well, seeing as it looks like a few people have started visiting this site, i thought i would stick up a picture of each of my tanks to give you an idea of what i have. thanks stu for giving me a plug from your blog site .

20 litre

70 litre

Monday, 1 January 2007

new years day guppy fry

i woke up this morning and had a quick look at the fish as i was making coffee as usual and i noticed that the heavily pregnant female guppy was no longer heavily pregnant! as i looked around the tank with what were probably still bleary sleepy eyes i was beginning to resign myself to the fact that all the fry had been devoured by the rest of the tank-mates. :'-( then, much to my surprise i started to notice the small fry swimming close to the gravel, almost too small to see. in total, after what seemed like a rather skillful operation ( ;p ), i managed to rescue 8 guppy fry and put them in a suspended mesh box on the interior of the tank.

this is fantastic because i was beginning to think that my guppy population was faulty. i suspect one or two of the females have given birth already and the young fry eaten before i noticed. especially since until recently my atlus angel was still swimming around that tank happily terrorizing the neighbourhood...

tiny little guppies.... honest!