Friday, February 27, 2009

Updates on issues.

The algea problem in female Guppies tank is getting better. I won't say it's under control, yet, but it is definitely improving. Putting more plants in and adding the Oto cats has made a lot of difference. Oh, and making sure we don't feed them too much, LOL. I've been trying to find some nice, fast growing plants I could put in that tank, but have not been successful so far.

Bubbles is doing well, but still has the white spots on his fins. I just changed his water yesterday, so I will give him a couple of days to destress and will do the treatment then. High temp and salt are not doing the job unfortunately.

Snail situation is getting better as well. I've put in slices of zucchini, which btw are Freckles' and Otos' favorite, and when the snails congregate on them for a feeding orgy, I just pull the slice out, dispose of the snails, and put the zucchini back in for the fishies. I'd say probably about 75% of the larger snails have been taken out. There are still lots of eggs and babies, but as they grow, I will continue the same "treatment".

And now a little news about Betta girls. A couple of weeks ago we got a pair of Betta females and named them Cherries and Cream. They were very small and seemed undernourished. We've put them in with the female Guppies but I wasn't sure if they would do ok there. They were very shy and withdrawn. At feeding time they did not seem to know what to do when all the big girls milled around and I was concerned they would not get enough food. Well, I had nothing to worry about. Our "shy" girls have certainly come out of their shells and are now shoving the guppies out of the way to get to the better morsels of food!

Both of them have grown and gained weight, especially Cream. In fact I have a feeling she is full of eggs as her abdomen is rather full and bulging. I am so very tempted to see how she would react to Bubbles, but really, I'm trying to be a responsible pet owner. We don't need more fish.....

Saturday, February 21, 2009

So many things happening...

I don't know where to start. Let's do it tank by tank:

1. Girl Guppies

Major problems with green algea. At least it's green algea which doesn't hurt the fish, but it's a pain in the nether regions none the less. I scrape all of it off the walls every week at cleaning time, scrub all the rocks and wood, filter, heater, thermometer and four days later everything is covered with thick, green growth. In the beginning I thought it was the Spring sun getting too strong so I covered the back walls of the tank which face the window. It's a north facing window and not that much light gets in, but you never know.

That did not seem to make much difference. So I started to feed the fish a lot less. The result? Same green walls and very hungry fish.

And then I realized that a few weeks ago I did some major trimming of plants because it was getting to be a jungle in there. Eureka! Less plants - more food available for algea to grow and more light getting through, again helping the algea. The balance in an aquatic world is truly delicate. I'm hoping that in a few weeks, as the plants catch up, the problem should disappear and for now I put three otos in to help with the algea.

2. Bubbles.

A couple of days ago I noticed two white spots on him looking very much like ick. Not good. I was a bit puzzled though because I keep his tank pristene clean, use about a teaspoon of aquarium salt per galon and also add Aquari-Sol to his water as an ick preventative.

And then I realized why - about a week prior, when I did the last cleaning, the heater did not kick in like it should and Bubbles spent half the day in rather cool water. It just goes to show you - no matter what preventative measures you use, if the water conditions are not up to spec, the fish will get sick.

I raised the water temp slowly to about 82-83 F and was ready to add some meds the next day, but one of the spots disappeared. The second seemed smaller. Since I don't like to overmedicate my animals, I decided to leave the medicine for now and just watch him. The second spot is almost gone and I'm hoping his own immune system is taking care of it but I guess I have to watch him to make sure the cycle of the parasite doesn't repeat. We just finished growing his tail out, for goodness sake. The last thing I need is for him to get ick and then some secondary infection.

Will watch and keep everyone posted.

3. Male Guppy Tank...

The darn SNAILS!!!!!!!! They are driving me up the wall. There are eggs everywhere and their poops are littering the bottom of the tank. I'm trying to scoop some of them out, but it's futile with the sand floor. I've also rearranged the tank a bit a couple of weeks ago and now the Otos are not happy. Not sure if they did not like the remodeling or whether they are bothered by all these snails as well. They hide most of the time (I'm not even sure I still have four in there), or hang on the side of the tank. I have not seen much activity from them at all lately. Today maybe I'll but a slice of cucumber in to see if I can get them excited, that is if the snails won't get to it first and devour it before the Otos have a chance to find it.

If anyone has any ideas on how to get rid of this snaily infestation, by all means, please let me know!

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Pinkie is doing great, no worse for wear after his "ordeal". I bet he's probably wondering, "What happened???". And of course, he's still playing the pebble Russian Roulette.

Now, if I could only figure out what to do with the major snail invasion that is underway in the male Guppy tank. I swear those things eat and poop more than all the fish and shrimp combined.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Tonight I had to do something I never thought I'd do in this life - perform fish surgery.

Disclaimer: No knives were used and no fish were hurt in this procedure... I did have to use a sharp object though. Here is what happened:

While waiting for my son to brush his teeth before going to bed, I sat in front of the Goldies' tank and watched them scavenge for food. They do that by taking a piece of gravel into their mouths, rolling it around to get any food leftovers or algea off and then spitting it out again. It didn't work that well for Pinkie though. I watched as he popped a larger pebble, rolled it around and... Yeah, couldn't spit it out.

He went into distress rather quickly. Tried to spit it out very hard, contorted his mouth, visibly struggled and every now and again he went limp, as if exhausted. Then start struggling again. My son and I watched him for about 5 minutes hoping he'd spit the pebble out but it was becoming obvious he was in serious trouble. The periods of going limp were becoming more frequent.

We had to make a decision and my son had a fantastic idea to try Clove Oil. We use it to gently euthanize seriously sick fish but I know in small doses it acts as anasthetic. We got the cup one of our bettas came in, poured about a cup of aquarium water in and added two drops of clove oil. Then swished for a good measure so the oil dissipated into the water a bit.

Then we put Pinkie in the cup. He calmed down very quickly and within a minute I fished him out, put him on a moist paper towel and, using the tapered (eye) end of a large sawing needle I very gently lifted his gill cover, inserted the needle between his gills and carefully pushed the pebble out his mouth. He did not struggle at all and we immediately put him back in the tank, after adding a few drops of Aquari-Sol and turning the filter off to prevent him from being thrown around by the current.

He was out of it. That's saying it mildly. He was completely stoned but was breathing, though very shallowly, and just floated on his side. We watched with abated breaths. Soon his breathing became deeper and his fins started twitching. Next came the tail and at first jerky movements. He righted himself and within 5 minutes was pretty much back to normal. My son and I shared a big sigh of relief.

Dufus of a fish! I certainly hope he won't do that again.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Do goldfish shed their scales?

I've heard a while ago that some fish shed their scales periodically, just like birds shed their feathers and regrow new ones. So I've done some research on this on the internet and, well, the verdict is: NO. Goldfish do not shed their scales. Yikes! Why am I asking this? Because in the last week, since the second last change of their water, both Lady Lydia and Pinkie have lost some scales. Not good.

The research suggested they are stressed. I'm pretty sure water conditions are fine as I have tested Ammonia and Nitrite last week and they were both zero. I guess I should check the Nitrate as well, but that usually has not been an issue. Water pH should be the same as I always use the same water and condition it the same way. I did, however, notice they were terribly skittish after that water change. Darting around like crazy when I approached the tank, even bumping into things. As if they have never seen me before or never had their water changed in the past. Silly fish.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to check the Nitrate levels just to be sure and make put a heater in set on very low to make sure the water temperature is at least constant. Maybe the fluctuations due to winter are bothering them. Thankfully they still are eating like horses. Gotta keep an eye on them. Hmmm, no one ever told me owning fish would be like having kids - there is always something!