News from the Fishy Front

One of the things that happens, with fishkeeping…. is that nothing much happens. (After the first dozen breedings even the baby fish get a little same-old-same-old.) I have to admit I’ve been neglecting the tanks’ water changes lately, so yesterday I hauled out my gear and got to work. And old store membership card makes for a great algae scraper, and I had my trusty Python for draining water to the toilet. The new item is a 20-gallon Sterilite container for storing the new water – I don’t have space for the permanent setups some hobbyists use, but since I change roughly 20 gallons out of each of my large tanks during water changes, the smaller container works well. The night before, I’d filled it with cold water, dunked a spare heater in, along with a mini internal filter, and dosed it with Seachem Safe. I haven’t gotten the necessary hoses from Lowe’s to use my new internal pump to pump the water directly up to the aquarium yet, so instead I used my trusty two-gallon bucket to scoop water from the container to the aquarium. (It dripped water everywhere.)

Now, the reason why I’m using the container instead of just running the new water through the Python straight to the tank: our water has started smelling/tasting rather chemically lately. What’s merely unpleasant for humans can be deadly – in a matter of hours – to aquatic life, so I knew I didn’t dare dump the water directly into the tank, even if I dosed for the full tank volume. Chemical reactions take time, after all. So, the aging of the water. For the planted tank, I didn’t bother aging it overnight, and I used the proper temperature out of the tap rather than cold water, so it had a good 15 minutes at least for the Safe to work before I started transferring new water to the aquarium. Now, I thought that this was going to make changing water even more work, and take longer – but it actually made it faster! I think it’s because pouring water in at 2 gallons a pop is a lot faster than depending on the gal/min flow of my faucet, which was the limiting factor before. I gotta rig a little frame with castors on the corners to pop the 20-gal container into, so I can wheel it around conveniently. That way I could just wheel it in front of the tank to catch the drips from the bucket (and not need as much tubing, once I get that from the hardware store).

Other updates: my angelfish died, poor thing. I have no idea why; I didn’t see anything wrong with him at all, just found him floating one morning. I also had to euthanize a tetra, which looked like it had the fish version of leprosy. Ugh. Thankfully he was behaving all right, wasn’t being picked on by the others or anything, so unlike most fish he got a humane death.

The good news; my two cardinal tetras, which were quite pale when I bought them, have colored up beautifully. They really do put the neon tetras to shame! I need to start stalking the local big box pet stores to find out when they’ll have another big $1 sale on those. Then go and buy all of them before anyone else can. Mwahahaha. The tetras in general appear very happy to have the Big Bad Angelfish predator gone, so despite the beauty of the angelfishes, I don’t think I’ll be buying more of those. I do need to get a few more Siamese algae eaters, though – my issues with brush algae are ongoing and the one isn’t cutting it. Predictably, after I added him, I got an outbreak of ich; right before I had to leave for a weekend trip, too. Thankfully I possess a miracle cure known as “QuICK Cure” (haha) that works wonders. I shake my head at reports of hobbyists using non-medical “intervention” on ich outbreaks (like raising the tank temperature and adding some salt) and then losing lots of fish. Not so hot, guys. I’ve had losses to disease as every hobbyist does occasionally  but never to ich. Medicate. (The shrimp folks can’t; I get that. I don’t keep inverts.)

I also need to replace a bulb over the planted tank – the Hygrophila difformis is growing vertically again, which means I don’t have enough light. It tries to take over sideways when the light is nice and strong. The poor grassy plants are still in a war of survival against the algae – but I actually have a runner on one of them. So I’d better get on that light stat!

Pester me for photographs if you’re curious. The lights went off already so they’re asleep now. 😉

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About pancakeloach

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