Wednesday, 28 February 2007
So anyway, to update on what's happened - a lot. I continue to have health problems with the platies. I took two more of them out this past week, put them in the small tank and dosed them with Melafix. The female died, the male, who was in much worse condition, seems fine...as "fine" as you can be when you are missing a chunk out of your tail fin anyway. The rest of the platies in the main tank seem ok...the big male keeps getting bigger and keeps bullying all the others. The babies (14 at last count) keep getting bigger too.
I moved the male fighter into the breeding box in the main tank, so I could use his tank as a hospital tank. After a few days I let him out into the main tank where he chased every other fish around for a while...and then settled down, but kept following the female around. Eventually things went badly again, she ended up with bloody fins, and he was back in isolation. Unsurprisingly, she hangs around his box all the time.
The 3 surviving pandas seem to be doing well. They aren't as boisterous as the other corys, but they will school with them from time to time. And the latest additions to the tank are four baby angels. They are a lot of fun. They are really cool fish.
Now I need another tank ;) I need to do something to reduce the platy overpopulation, and maybe to do something about the sex ratios (the five remaining adult platies in the main tank include three males and two females. I should really remove two of the males...that would leave the 2:1 (females to males) sex ratio that they recommend. I wonder how a males-only tank would get on - whether they would still bully each other if there aren't any females to fight over...
Saturday, 17 February 2007
Twenty-four hours later she has given up on chasing the fish, but spends most of the time sprinting along the length of the tank.
Friday, 16 February 2007
Thursday, 15 February 2007
On the other hand, the second largest male platy isn't looking good - he has splotches of on him, and he is being harrassed terribly by the largest male. I'm guessing the two are related. I need to get something to treat that...if I knew what that was. Anyway, I have a heater to return (it was too big for the small tank).
One real problem with trying to treat anything is that I have two things to manage - the fish and the tank ecosystem. Most anti-bacterials will destroy the biofiltration system, which will put the rest of the tank at risk. I really wouldn't want to start this whole process over. That said, of course, the health of the fish is important. A diseased fish means a much larger population of pathogens in the tank. Even though they were there to begin with, it's that reserviour that has the potential to infect the other fish, the ones that are less stressed.
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
This is a shot of the first female platy, in the interval between giving birth and dying. I really just did this to try out the firstname.lastname@example.org feature which lets you email images from your phone to your blog. But anyway, that was one of my platies, on an Echinodorus leaf. Hopefully this makes the blog a little more visually appealing (I think it matches the background colour pretty well).
After two weeks there's a large - and well-established - snail population going. And there's some decent species diversity - while I know almost nothing about snail identification (or even where the species are from), there are several distinct shell morphologies, including one with a largely translucent shell. With hard water and a high pH I'm sure the snails are happy enough. And while there isn't any algae to speak of in the tank (yet), there are enough plants (and, presumably, epiphylls) to keep them alive. Of course, the plants that brought in snails could have brought in all sorts of other parasites...we'll see how it goes. For the time being there's nothing that eats the snails, so a population explosion is very likely. Of course, I really want Angels...who are moderate molluscivores. Still, I doubt any casual snail eater will really be much good at managing the snail population.
Anyway, we narrowed it down to two females, but we couldn't make a decision, so be brought them both home. Once we got them home I realised that introducing them into the tank would have a devastating effect on the fry. I thought about putting them in the old fighter tank, but the water was too cold, so they spent the night in their little jars on top of the aquarium. The next day, once the fighter tank was warmed up a little, we put them into the tank...and I discovered that one of the females was probably a short-finned male.
So for the time being the female female is in a breeder box floating in the big tank, while the probably male female is in the old fighter tank.
Anyway, whatever they are, Corys are cool fish. They're usually frantic swimmers (although they aren't very active this morning). But what draws me to them most is nostalgia. I had Corys when I first had fish, but after we moved to Dow Village they stayed downstairs and I paid very little attention to them. And then one day I looked in on them and there was at least one more than there had been originally. That discovery really fascinated me, and it has stayed with me ever since. I suppose I was also drawn to C. aeneus because they are a Trini fish, and other than guppies, perhaps the only reliably available Trini fish.
Monday, 12 February 2007
As I mentioned before, I returned to the petshop a few days later and got 3 more (female) dwarf platies, and one (female) "mickey mouse platy" which looked something like this one. Shortly thereafter the first female had babies, and a day or so later I noticed major fin rot on both her and the "mickey mouse" platy. Without knowing what to do, I separated out the sick fish...and they died overnight. But after a 10% water change and an increase in temperature, the rest of the fish were ok. Since then, and especially now since my second water change, the male platies are going crazy, trying to mate with everything else (including the Corys). The females (and the second largest male) are looking pretty harrassed. Two of the females are huge with babies - the smallest (and fattest) female is ridiculously large.
And then there are the real stars of the aquarium - the platy fry. But I've said enough about them already.
I'm really impressed with the fry. They have real personality, real spunk. It's one thing to see them grab a piece of flake food the size of their head. It's even more impressive when they go after the Cory food. The Cory food sinks, obviously, and the platies are as eager to go for it as anyone. It's one thing when the adults grab at it, or try to approach the (far larger) Corys to grab a bit. It's even more impressive when a platy fry finds an untended piece of food and take a bit of something more than five times their size.
The most interesting stuff is the Echinodorus - I have two species of it (ok, actually I am not totally certain that the smaller one is an Echinodorus, but it has a similar growth form. Pretty cool plants - really are emergents, of course, but they seem to be happy enough submerged. Since they grow all the way up the the water surface they seem to fulfil the role of floating plants. What amazed me was the way the platies (and snails) demolished one of the near-dead leaves. Once they had a starting point they stripped the leaf and stem down to fibres in a day. The platies are pretty dedicated herbivores when they set their mind to it, but the plants seem to be doing ok overall.
Although the NO2- levels are still "dangerous", the fish seem happy enough. High levels of nitrite reportedly will damage gills, but the fish seem to be able to cope with current levels. As long as they don't get any higher I suppose I should wait a while to change the water - presumably, the Nitrobacter will grow faster the more substrate there is for them. According to this site, Nitrosomas and Nitrobacter do best at a pH between 7.4 and 8, so I suppose there's some good to be said for the pH of the water. (Of course, I have no idea whether that website is a reliable source of info or not, and I'm too lazy to figure that out).
Sunday, 11 February 2007
Looking at the 'Bettatalk' website, it would seem that trying to breed "petstore bettas" is a horrible idea that is bad for me and bad for the species. But, the truth is, I'm far more interested in breeding fish, not raising generation after generation of "superior" fish. I'm not going to be a professional breeder, and if I am (a) I'm going to learn how to breed and raise the fish before I get into specific strains, and (b) I'm a big fan of "mutts" and of trying to see what they may have to offer.
We got pretty close to buying a new tank today. I think we could fit another 10 gallon tank, and a full kit runs around $50, which isn't all that bad. It could work as a quarantine tank, or as a breeding tank for fighters - or both, if I clean it up well enough in between. I'll see what happens. I suppose I have a heater to return. I'll make a decision in the next day or two as to whether I want to buy another tank and setup. What's really sad is that I can get the tank (sans all the other stuff) for just $9.00 - that would be enough to breed fighters at home, but here you can't run a tank without a heater. Oh well.
For a few days I accepted the figure of five, but yesterday I started to wonder if there weren't more. This morning I confirmed 10 fry, some happily nibbling at flakes on the surface, while others were pecking at the Cory food on the bottom.
Anyway, with a 55-gallon tank and "magic" bacterial cultures to add, I figured I could cheat a bit. So I added plants, figuring they would help things along, and Linz's fighter. And after a couple days I bought a few platies. That's where the problem started - everything I read said more females than males, so I asked for 3 females and two males. I figured that the guy at the pet store should know what he was up to, but once I got them home and had a look at them I realised that I had four males and one female. So a few days later, since she was being harrassed so much, I added four more females. And, of course, some Corys.
A few days later, after the first female had given birth, I noticed fin rot on her and one other the other females. Not sure what that meant, I moved them into the old fighter tank, where they promptly died. (The fighter had also expired the previous day - I felt really badly, since he wasn't mine). Only then did I got looking online, and realise that rather than being a contagious disease, fin rot was most likely to be a symptom of bad water quality. So I did a water change - about 10%, because I didn't want to mess up the cycling too much.
The next day I noticed that the remaining females in the tank didn't look well either, and had some fin rot. I was going to attribute it to (harrassment by the males, but then I noticed "shimmying", and I remembered seeing something about it on a disease page. So I looked into it, and realised that my water temperature was set really low. I raised it any everyone seemed happy.