Friday, January 16, 2009

A Day of Surprises.

Went home yesterday to find one of my store-bought guppy males stricken with some kind of fin fungus. His left frontal fin had a fluffy, white margin and appeared to be disintegrating on the edges. He was not looking right for the past three days or so - moving slowly while his colour was pale - so in a way this wasn't a surprise.

Off he went to the hospital tank. The pet store gave me something called Pimafix (or such - sorry, can't remember the name right now). But I'm not sure it will do the job. I may change to the Jungle Fungus Remover.

Second surprise? My big Guppy momma dropped her fry last night and I had the priviledge of witnessing the event for the first time in 20 years. She was breathing hard and was obviously struggling but every now and then a little tail would appear and then a tiny guppy popped out. Unfortunately, as it often happens in fishy world, the aunts and sisters were more than happy to help the little ones into their mouths... But still, most of them survived. It's truly amazing to watch these little bits of string with two eyes have such a strong survival instinct. The moment one of the bigger fish came over, they zigzagged super fast into the gravel where they could hide quite effectively.

I also noticed a very strange behaviour during the happy event. One of the younger females, who is about 1/2 the size of the momma, kept bothering her. She swam after her and picked at her back, as if saying, "Hurry up and drop them so we can have a feast!". Well, out she went to another tank, STAT!

Can't wait to go home tonight and check them all out. And hopefully this will be the last litter for the big girls, for a while. I'd love to pair them with my red male but really, I'm running out of space!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Lady Lydia's Journal

January 1, 2009

The Keeper has moved us to our new house today. Oh, excuse me, I guess I should introduce "us". I am Lady Lydia, a Comet Gold Fish and my mate is Pinkie, also a gold fish, although I suspect he may be just a common one. Pinkie is a little fellow but very sweet.

As I was saying, we were moved to our new home. It is lovely! Lots more room to swim and stretch our fins. Though I must say the first couple of days it was rather intimidating. So very bright and colourful compared to our old home. And that strange sound coming from one corner... I was quite frightened but having our old furnishings helped me relax. Pinkie and I found a great little spot to hide and sleep in. Right behind our old rock, under the plants. No one can see us there.

It was indeed a perfect way to start the new year. We are quite comfortable now and race around in the evening when feeding time is coming. The Keeper always brings us some goodies and she has done something to that awful noise - it's not there anymore. Just a soothing sound of water gently cascading into our tank.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Welcome to Life In A Fishbowl.

Hello and welcome to my new blog, Life in a Fish Bowl. I'm hoping to write about and document life in my aquariums. Keeping fish is a new hobby for me but I must admit I have become addicted very quickly and now suffer from a full blown MTS (Multiple Tank Syndrome).

It all started with three little gold fish I purchased to keep the mosquito larva down in a small outdoor fountain. My children named them Lady Lydia, Brutus and Prince Paris. Sadly, the original three were attacked by a racoon one night and only Lady Lydia survived, minus a few scales.

That day I immediately moved Lady Lydia (LL) to a small aquarium indoors and my fish keeping education started in earnest. I started reading like crazy in an effort to make sure LL was healthy and happy. I had no idea the amount of knowledge I'd have to absorb but, thanks to the internet, somehow my education progressed.

Alas, even though her aquarium conditions were good, Lydia looked lonely. After a few months we decided to get her a mate - Pinkie. He is much smaller than Lydia and almost entirey pink. He does have some faint orange colouring, but it's hard to see sometimes. I say "he" but the truth is, I have no idea whether either one of them is male or female. I'm not even sure if one can tell. For all I know Lady Lydia is a male and Pinkie is a girl...

While LL was still living outside with her original two friends, my son has talked me into getting a Betta, or Siamese Fighting Fish. Well, these guys looks so pathetic in a pet store, kept in tiny little bottles, that I had a hard time refusing. So Bubbles came home with us.

A friend of ours once kept a Betta in a cool (or so I thought then) setup - in a large glass vase, with a peace lily stuck at the top. We put Bubbles in a similar vase. But he did not look happy and, after more internet research, I discovered how cruel such a setup is. So off we run to the pet store again, to purchase a whole aquarium with all the amenities (filter, heater, thermometer). A few hours later Bubbles was inspecting his very own "house" - a 2.5 Gal aquarium we put in our kitchen. Soon he was making bubble nests like crazy (which is a very good indication of high spirits for a Betta) and chasing away imaginary rivals who appeared in a mirror we put against the side of his aquarium.

But of course, my son wanted something "of his very own", in his own room. He's heard stories of the first fish I kept more than 20 yrs ago - fancy guppies. He wanted them as well and one day, while visiting a local pet store, he wore me down and talked me into getting another aquarium and some fancy guppies. We came home with 4 females and 2 males. At this point, well, what was the point? We also got some neons (4), Otocinclus, or Otos (4), and Long fin Bristlenose Pleco named Freckles. Just this past week we also purchased some Amano (Japonica) shrimp to help with the cleanup in the two larger aquariums.

We very quickly discovered that Guppies breed like bunnies and I decided to implement a bit of birth control... Namely, we planned on separating males from females. I set up a large tank, cycled it for over a month, planted it even (my first experience with under water gardens - and that's a story all on its own) and, when all the parameters were ok, we moved our boys into their own digs. They love it!!!

At some point I became unhappy with the small tank Bubbles was in (our Betta) and set another large tank in the kitchen. We moved him in and then added some of the Guppy girls in small increments. Bubbles was not impressed at first but got used to them very quickly and now pretty much ignores them, except when they try to steal his Betta Bits food. He lunges at it to get it first.

The best part of fishkeeping? Things are never boring. There is always something going on. Be it problems, funny stuff or just everyday fish life - it's all interesting. And I find I can sit in front of an aquarium and just observe the fish for hours. It's very relaxing.

So, I'm going to share here what I learn and observe and hope that anyone who reads this blog will enjoy it as well.