Monday, 8 December 2014

Update, at last

So where were we?

The last entry I think we had just moved in the huge six foot tank. Well, that didn't end... well. After filling it, buying a new pump and putting in sand and bogwood I inspected it and found that where the idiot mover had dropped it (Yep! What a guy!) there was a big chip in the corner. Despite it being reinforced internally, I just wasn't going to take the risk, especially with a little one cruising around sticking her fingers in everything, and long story short we got rid of it and decided that after everything we had been through, we would just buy new. 

We ordered another six footer, slightly thinner and more in keeping with out current furniture. It was not cheap, but the moment it arrived I knew it was a better decision; a better fit and much more pleasing on the eye. Stupidly I didn't take any photos of it empty! But here it is just after we started to set it up.

Annoyingly, it wasn't plain sailing from the start. The bulkheads on the sump dripped no matter what we did, meaning we had to empty the weir and take apart the pipe work multiple times. In the end, we bought some gold label sealant and used it instead of the gaskets supplied, and that did the trick immeadiately. I hope we don't have to take the pipe work apart! We fit four T8 lights and then the starter just mysteriously stopped working so now there are just two, which won't do long term for the plants  although obviously the fish don't care.

After a few days of running the tank empty, we added the wood, plants and then fish. It wasn't much to look at because it was so murky for a while until I got a new powerhead. Here is a picture, a week or so on. Apologies for all the crud, it needs a bit of a clean!

We moved over:

7 Siamese Algae Eaters
7 Pentazona Barbs
7 Glowlight Tetra
7 Cardinal Tetra
7 Dwarf Chain Loaches
6 Yo Yo Loaches
6 Cories (5 albino one peppered)
3 Bosemani Rainbows
2 Dwarf Neon Rainbows 
2 BN Plecs
2 Angels
2 Swordtails
1 Platy
1 Clown Plec
1 Blue Phantom Plec
1 Plucky Harlequin Rasbora
1 Ancient Danio

As you can see, quite a mishmash!

Before adding any old fish to the tank, we added six new Platies. Canaries, if you will. They all survived the experience (thank goodness) so are now happily living beside their new chums.

I've also added:

3 Red Rainbows
3 Blue Rainbows
4 Bosemani Rainbows
4 Rainbows that I can't quite ID... Possibly Madagascan but with a slightly different tail??
4 Dwarf Neon Rainbows

I wouldn't normally have added to many fish - the first six last week and twelve yesterday - but the ones yesterday were an absolute bargain. Just £2.50 each for the larger rainbows and £3 for the dwarf neons. Take that, Maidenhead Aquatics and your ridiculous prices! After losing so many (six red rainbows, four Bosemani and TEN dwarf neons!) in our tank disaster, being able to up the number for a reasonable cost seemed like a very good idea. They're all only juveniles at the moment so you can completely understand why they sit in the display tanks for so long.

I'll try to get some pictures of them if I can!

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The biggest fishy disaster of 2014...and a new project

Well after my last post, things didn't improve. What I assume was a temperature or Ph swing from refilling the tank too quickly after the disaster claimed all six red rainbows, three Bosemani rainbows, ten dwarf neon rainbows, four harlequins and a few cardinal tetras. 

RIP little guys. 

 A bit jaded and upset, I wondered whether it would be better to give up the rest of the fish and dismantle the tank but then my husband made a suggestion that I am certain will haunt him to his grave. 

 Let's get rid of the two big tanks and replace them with one bigger one. 

 So, wanting to launch myself into a new project to take my mind of the horrors of disaster week, I started putting feelers out there for a 5 or 6 foot tank to replace the 240l and the 200l. I posted on a facebook group and a guy replied, saying he had a 6x2x2 that didn't fit in their new house and he was looking to swap for a smaller tank like my 4 footer. So thinking 'bargain!' I agreed with him that, once the carpet was laid, we would do a swap. 

 Well, I won't go into the work involved in moving a tank capable of holding 180 US gallons (with a sump) but suffice to say it wasn't straightforward and the air turned blue a few times that day! However, happily the tank survived the swap and was installed in it's new place in my living room. 

As soon as the guy and the mover had left, my husband and I looked at the tank, and looked at each other. We knew the dimensions of the tank, we had even been to visit ones just like it in an aquatic shop, however I don't think either of us really appreciated how BIG this tank was going to be.

Here is a picture of it with my ten month old daughter for scale, and I don't even think it shows how imposing it is. However, a few days later and I am getting used to it, and now I can't wait for it to be set up!

Since this photo was taken, we have half-filled it, put in the sand and bogwood - which previously dominated the 4 footer but now looks pathetically small! We are going to get the sump up and running today and run it for a few days until it clears. Maybe even plant it up a bit.

Anyway I am intending to take photos at each stage so hopefully I will be able to update them to this journal! Wish me luck!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Sad post

So after writing up my carpet disaster this morning, we have had at least four deaths in the rainbow tank, two Bosemani, one red and one dwarf neon. They have all happened today which is odd as the accident happened Saturday and it was Monday night that we moved the tank - it's been two days now and all stats are fine... 

I've done a water change and added an air stone but I'm at a bit of a loss at what else to do. I don't want to transfer the fish in case of disease. The remaining inhabitants look ok but then the Bosemani all looked ok when I went out two hours ago yet two have perished. I am hoping that there will be no more casualties but I'm baffled, what could it be? The only thing I can think of is a ph swing due to changing so much water at once when we had to refill the tank after it lost over 2/3 of it's water but that seems a bit out there as rainbows love big water changes so it wasn't more than double the usual change. The fish aren't showing any sign of disease or distress. They're coloured up (even post mortem, see sad photo!) and not gasping for air as you might expect. I'll do another bucket in half an hour and keep doing that.

I need wine.


So, after a nice day spent visiting a few new fish shops we had not been to before, my husband and I went out on a nice dog walk with the pram. When we returned and hour later there was a bit of a smell...and on walking into the living room we realised that it was emanating from the extremely wet carpet. On further inspection, it became clear that the culprit was the fluval filter on the 240l tank which had come apart at the seal and pumped around 150l of water all over the living room. The fish were happily swimming in about a third of their tank water and it was quite obvious that the carpet was not going to survive so we ripped up as much as we could. 

The next day we realised we could no longer stand the smell from under the fish tank and it had to move. It gave me a chance do do a stock take of all the fish, currently; 

 7 Bosemani Rainbows 
6 New Guinea Red Rainbows 
12 Dwarf Neon Rainbows 
6 Yo Yo loaches (possibly a different species - they're getting very big!)
4 Siamese Algae Eaters (made light work of the black beard these little fellas!)
2 Bristlenose Plecs 
5 Harlequins 
9 Cardinal Tetra 

Sadly the cories seemed to die, one after the other, until there were only a few left which got moved to the 200l. Possibly of old age as they were among the first fish we got around four years ago now. The angel also got moved and is enjoying trying to spawn with her friend, also a female...

The wood and plants have just been dumped in as the move was a looong job and we had to wait until the baby was in bed to start. But here are a few (pretty rubbish) pictures of the tank after we had re-set it up in it's temporary spot in the hall. One down, one to go...

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

In praise of Siamese Algae Eaters

Now I have never been one for getting a fish to fix a problem - too many people have one poor sad clown loach living in a 3ft tank because they were told by the fish shop that they eat snails, and I think that's really sad. However, my tank became overrun by black beard algae while I was pregnant and couldn't reach into the tank to maintain the plants. I started dosing with flourish excel and removing the affected anubias leaves but it didn't do much. 

I was starting to feel miserable about the state of the tanks which were usually so beautiful. It was then that I read about Siamese Algae Eaters, the only fish that actually snack on the black stuff! As long as you get the right species, they are peaceful gregarious little guys who grow to about 12cm and are suitable for most communities as long as there is space and the tank is big enough. They're also pretty cute. However, they are frequently confused with other species such as flying foxes, and false SAEs which are not peaceful and do not eat algae, so I think they get a bit of a bad rep. 

 Anyway after much deliberation and studying of photos, I decided to get some. My LFS only had two and they were labelled as Flying Foxes, but I took my phone in and studied them, and compared them to pictures (what smartphones were invented for). As soon as I got them in the tank I knew they were the right fish as they started snacking straight away on all the unsightly black algae. 

 I now have seven of these little guys altogether, three in my 200l and four in my 240l, and WOW what a good job they do! The hair algae disappeared from both tanks in less than a week. They cause no problems to any of the other inhabitants and you can always see them mid tank, grazing on the plants. For me, I would say they have not only fixed a problem but added to the character of the tanks and I am so glad I gave them a try!

Here are some really rubbish pictures of some of my little friends!

Thursday, 20 March 2014

One year on!

Well it's been over a year since I last updated my fish blog. And what a busy year it has been! I now have a new addition, and not a fishy one - in November I had a baby girl. Being pregnant and having a newborn to look after don't exactly go hand in hand with the hefty bucket lifting work that is fish tank maintenance but I kept with it (with help from the husband of course!) and still have three tanks; the two Fluval Romas (240l and 200l) and in place of the wave 15 which I closed down when the previous betta died, I have the Fluval Edge set up with a new betta, pygmy cories, two otos, two big amano shrimp and assassin snails which bred in the tank. The two large tanks haven't changed too much. Unfortunately bending into the tank to do plant maintenance has not been possible and the plants have suffered a bit with lack beard algae. The stocking is very similar, there have been a few deaths (guppies, platies and dwarf gourami in the 240 which came with the tank) and a couple of additions - some more cories in both tanks and a few Bosemani rainbowfish in the 240. I will pop some pictures up when I can - it's too sunny to take any now - and hopefully over the next few weeks if I have the time I can work on the plants and get back to a well maintained planted tank. Baby certainly likes watching the fish, maybe she'll be a fishkeeper too!

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Baby Assassins!

Shortly after I got the Roma 240, I sold off my other tanks and sadly I had to find a new home for several fish, including Mrs Krib :( When I broke down the tank I found that, sadly and without obvious reason, four of my six assassin snails were but mere shells. The two survivors were moved into the Superfish betta tank. I also sold the wood I had in these tanks, with the exception of one piece wood with a plant attached, which I put in my 20l Arcadia Arc quarantine tank. About 4-6 weeks later I noticed that Viv, my light-coloured angel, had a gammy fin. He or she has always had one deformed fin which means she can't swim fast, even for an angel, and she may have been nipped. I was however concerned it was finrot of whitespot or something else bad. I moved the platy babies inhabiting the tank into the 200l to fend for themselves and then moved Viv into my qt tank (which is far too small for her but as I said, I sold the rest of my tanks off! Just my luck...). I whacked the temperature up and medicated the tank. Anyway... One week later, I noticed baby assassin snails crawling round the tank! Not just one or two; about 9 or 10 at last count! I guess the increase in temperature caused eggs, which must have been on the wood already, to hatch out.... how odd is that?? I never had any babies at all when the wood was in situ - no shells at all when the tank was broken down except those I put in myself. Perhaps it was the temperature that caused them to hatch, I just don't know. All I know is that the eggs must have been at least 6 weeks old at time of hatching, if not much, much longer. Am hoping these baby snails survive long enough to be photographed easily, and looking forward to a new breeding challenge!