As some of you know, I have too many tanks. I had 6 (including the Kindy tank), which is just too many for me to manage with everything else I have to get done in a day, and still have time to sit and enjoy each one. Many of these tanks sprung up from errors that I made a year ago, when I let my kids pick out a random group of aquatic creatures, and was badly informed by the shop that they all could live happily together in one 10 gallon tank. . . that was a bad month, but I managed to get most of them through the cycling process (with a lot of help from TFK friends!), and into homes of their own, and things have been happy (more or less) ever since. . .
Of all the creatures we brought home that day, I fell head-over-heels in love with a little African Dwarf frog named Speckles - and the species as a whole. As time passed, I decided that it would be better for her to be in a species-only tank. She moved from what was then the main community tank (which was the start of Becoming), and into a 5 gallon (both tanks can be seen still under "my aquariums" tab,) and from there into a 10 gallon tank with a little boy-frog named Freckles.
They were a match made in heaven, a mated pair, and very happy in their10-gallon paradise. Recently, my first frog passed. A very sad day for me and my girls.
She lived with us for nearly a year, but should have lived much longer (I suspect that the mistakes I made in the beginning shortened her life span dramatically.) This left Mr.Freckles all alone in a 10g tank.Which was fine with him - and me - except that. . . it would make my life so much easier if there were one less tank to maintain. With all I've learned about the care of both frogs and fish over the last year, *maybe* I could try putting one in a community again. . .
His 10g tank was really like a mini Becoming, as it was created from 'leftovers' when I started her in the 29g, so I thought Frecks might feel right at home in the larger tank. Except that, Frecks has always lived a species-only life, and I wasn't sure how the others - particularly my little Rams, would feel about the new kid. I thought about this for a long time before I decided to go ahead and try it. The *main* issue with ADF frogs in a community tank (provided all of the fish are gentle), is feeding. They're slow to find their food, and unless care is taken to give them their share, they can easily starve to death. But I enjoy hand-feeding my wet-pets anyway, they're all used to it, except the Tetra, and Frecks is old enough now to go a day or two between feedings, not a big deal for me. . . I decided to give it a try...
The rams came out and eyed him up for quite some time, trying to figure out if he was a friend - or dinner. I held my breath the whole time! My sweetest and most docile ram, Alice, took a nibble - which stopped my heart. ADF have VERY sensitive/thin skin, and a Bolivian Ram has a very powerful mouth - one nip *could* be a death-sentence for poor Frecks, one of the reasons why I was leery about the change. Turned out that she didn't *actually* nip the frog, but a piece of dead skin that was hanging on from Freck's last shed - she didn't do it again after she got her 'treat', but I'll be watching closely to see what happens during his first full shed in the tank. If the Rams start picking at him - even if it's just to get the shedding skin off - this isn't going to work out.
The loaches were very interested, too. It didn't take them long to come to terms with each-other, and at this point Frecks doesn't flinch when a loach slides over his head on his quest for food, and Frecks has been accepted as a permanent resident of Loachville with no issues.
Frecks has never lived with fish, and the fish in Becoming have never lived with a frog, so they all spent a lot of time investigating each-other. Something I wasn't expecting to be so . . . obvious. Especially with the Jelly Bean Brigade. They tend to keep to themselves and not pay any attention to all of the creatures living beneath them in the tank - but they showed a definite interest in little Freckles - to the point that the entire shoal literally followed him around all night staring at him. They clearly didn't consider him a threat, as they were getting quite close to him. I wonder if they recognize his type - the Beaners were wild-caught in Africa - it *could* be that they lived side-by-side with ADF. Maybe they were just trying to figure out what he was, whatever the reason, it was quite entertaining to see them behave in such an odd way!
This is a terrible shot, but it's the only one that came out in the slightest bit. . .
Freckles took everything in stride, he was really amazing. He stayed out and in the open the entire time, but wasn't afraid to let everyfish know that he IS in fact an animal, and that they were NOT allowed to pick on him. He nipped at the Ram's a couple of times when they got in his face (ADF have no teeth, so no harm was done, and cichlids are fast learners - and now respect his 'personal' space), and I suspect that it took him a few minutes to figure out that Kuhli loaches are fish, and not worms. ADF have terrible eyesight, and I imagine he saw the saddles on the loaches as separate wiggling possible food-sources. Freckles was always very submissive to Specks, the female frog, so it was a relief to see that he had the potential to get a bit nippy when he felt the situation warranted it - makes me feel more comfortable that he'll manage well in the community. Through all of this, he still refused to hide away, and took his dinner with everyone else in the tank only an hour or so after his introduction (aside from hiding, an ADF who is stressed or frightened tends not to eat, so this was a very happy sign).
After that first night, things have settled in remarkably well. No more nipping, we're all learning how to handle the new feeding routine, and Freckles is very obviously having a wonderful time in the 55g. It took him a few days to adjust his swimming style and build his muscles to master to getting from one end to the other of the tank without flip-flopping a bit, and also to learn how to handle the water movement, and where the calm 'chill out' spots are at the surface, but he's a pro at it now, and seems very happy in there!
As is the norm with these little guys, he spends his days practicing the Way of the Ninja, and doing his best to be invisible whilst remaining in plain sight (He's a Ninja master, so we've been having had a lot of fun trying to spot him). And his evenings are spent very actively swimming about and taking full advantage of all the extra space that Becoming offers.
He's even started Ninja classes for the rest of the family!
(totally NOT what was *actually* happening in this shot
Things seem to be going really well in there. I'll continue keep a really close eye on him, and have kept his 10g up and running so I can pull him out in a hurry if I have to. I haven't actually seen him shed since he's been moved, so I hope all goes well with that. If everything continues to go smoothly, I may be adding a couple more ADF to this tank in the summer months when I close the Kindy tank. As a general rule, I'm still of the impression that frogs will do best in a species-only tank for many reasons, but at the same time I'm really enjoying having another of my favorite wet-pets in Becoming. He adds a whole new element to the tank, and it really has been a lot of fun for the whole (people) family to have him back in the center of things (the frog tank was tucked away in a bedroom, Becoming is in the main living area of our home).
Here's a video that shows Frecks in his new home - you have to look closely, he's a very tiny guy, and when he's not swimming, he slips into Ninja mode and can't be seen, so keep your eyes on him when you see him swim past. Sorry it's so long. Again.