Becoming - 55 gallon tank upgrade - Page 49 - Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources
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post #481 of 828 Old 02-20-2013, 08:37 PM Thread Starter
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Haha. . . 14 to be exact, and they ALL can (and do) fit under one small rock!
So far, things seem to be going well with the Dwarf loaches. They're surely enjoying all of the extra space that Becoming has to offer, though they seemed perfectly content in the 10 gallon QT tank, they're really having a ball in the 55! Normally, they're spread throughout the tank, some cruising back and forth in the water column, some hiding under things, some tangled in plants, and some snuffling around for scraps of food. . . but as you saw in the video - when it's feeding time, things get a little bit. . .ticklish in there. I love it! I hope they continue to thrive, because there is NO way that I'm getting them out of this tank without a major tear-down!

As for the filter. . . y'know, this is my first canister, I've had it since shortly after upgrading Becoming to the 55 up in September, and in that time I've messed with the spraybar more than I've messed with the rest of the tank since set-up!

First, it drove me batty that the spraybar wouldn't fit lengthwise against the side wall of my tank without being tilted, and it's such a weird green - it just was an eyesore. So I cut off about the last inch or so of the bar, so that it could fit horizontally across the top of the tank. But the smaller size bar meant a higher flow-rate, and it was causing a problem with someone no matter how I aimed the flow. . .

Finally, I turned it so that the holes were aimed backward - toward the tank wall - and at an angle. The incoming water bounces off the side wall, and then spreads across the tank beneath the water line in a far more gentle flow than what I was able to get otherwise. There is a gentle ripple at the top of the tank that extends just a bit past the half-way point. It isn't enough of a current to move the plants around, since most of the incoming water is flowing beneath them and downward, but there IS water movement. I also run a bubbler at about half-flow in the far right corner - I usually have it turned off when I take videos, as it always draws my eye away from the fish and drives me crazy - but otherwise, it's on 24/7. . .

I'm not 100% sure that I'm done messing with it, but so far this seems to be working the best for everyone in the tank. . . including the plants! The fish that I have don't like a high filter flow, with the exception *maybe* of the Jellybean Tetra - but they're so small that they seem to have to work REALLY hard with the filter output set normally and lots of agitation near the top of the tank. I've had issues a couple of times in the past where the oxygen levels were TOO low - one time my husband forgot to turn the filter back on after helping me with the tank, and the second time the cat knocked the filter plug out of the wall. In both cases the Beans were the first to show signs of stress. Within about 3 hours they were obviously working much harder to breath, though they weren't at the surface of the tank, their gills were pumping, and their mouths were nomnomnoming very obviously and quickly. Both times they resumed normal behavior within an hour after the problem was corrected. I'm not seeing that now, and the filter has been set this way for a few weeks. For right now, everyone seems happy with this low level of water-movement, and don't seem to be having trouble with oxygen levels. . . and thus far I haven't had any issues with surface scum, or oily residue on the top of the water. I'm hoping that everything continues to go well, and that I'll be able to leave the filter as it is.

Still new to this, so if you or anyone else has some advice to give, please do! I'm very much learning as I go along!
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post #482 of 828 Old 02-22-2013, 01:12 PM
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Just catching up now, but what a journey you've had!!!!

I'm sorry you lost your first spawn, but as I learned the hard way that is just what seems to happen when you get a surprise spawn. And it sounds like your rams are working to give you a second one!

I'm sorry you did lose that little Java loach in QT. But I'm so glad that all of the squiggles are happy in the main tank! There are so many squiggles!! And the size difference in astounding!! Those are some of the best pictures I've seen to show it. I never would have thought the dwarf pangio were that small!
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post #483 of 828 Old 02-22-2013, 05:06 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Koi! It HAS been a fun couple of weeks. . .

The two rams have settled down somewhat, though they're still courting, it isn't AS dramatic as it was a few days ago. I suppose Hattie decided she wasn't *quite* as ready as she thought!

The loaches. . . are sooooooooooo tiny! It's really cool to finally get to see them side-by-side. They seem really happy in the bigger tank, and none of the others are bothered by their presence. . . and feeding time is hilarious (as you saw)!
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post #484 of 828 Old 02-22-2013, 06:43 PM
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I was doing some thinking today about your Rams, and their mating/courting. I don't know much about them besides your posts, but from what you've said the Bolivians seem very aware of what's going on and very particular about their mates. I was just wondering if the reason C.Cat is now courting Hattie is because of the failed spawning with the other female. Perhaps they judge their mates by a successful spawn?

Just a thought that kind of flitted through my head today :p
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post #485 of 828 Old 02-22-2013, 10:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the thought, Jen - I've really been pondering this exact thing. . .

makes a bonded pair bonded? Obviously C.Cat, if not Liz, had his pick of several females, and he would instinctively have chosen the one that he felt (for whatever reason) was the most likely to be able to continue his own genes - that's just the way fish work. . . but it DIDN'T work out. . . so has C.Cat decided that she's not a worthy mate? Or is he just 'fooling around' because Hattie is very obviously ready to breed. They still haven't, but that seems to be more her decision than his - though she seemed to really be into it a few nights ago, returning his advances and taking part in cleaning the rocks, and even doing 'dry runs' - which females don't generally do until/unless they've accepted the male's proposal and are ready to spawn. Very odd.

One thing that I've read time and time again is that if you remove the fry, you should always be sure to leave a few for the parents to look after to 'strengthen their bond.' Nothing further is ever said on it, but it makes sense. Why mate with a female who is unable to produce surviving offspring? It's a waste of energy. So by leaving some of the babies in for the parents to raise, you're reassuring them that they are a successful pair, and so they, in theory, will desire to continue their bond.

However, in community tanks where the fry NEVER survive, people still do end up with bonded pairs. So hmmm!? B.Rams don't HAVE to be bonded, some will breed with various partners, but from what I've found, more often than not they do tend to form bonded pairs and mate exclusively with each-other for the rest of their lives. . .

I guess time will tell on this one! Liz is out of the running for about 3 weeks or so while she develops another batch of eggs, and even then. . . they've gone all this time without mating, maybe it was a random fluke! I really hope they mate again, I'm feeling sorry for Liz right now, and hope she wins the boy, but Hattie IS the prettiest female I have (it's a close race between the two, though). I'll be happy however it works out, but I'm really hoping to solve the mystery of 'Livie bonds, and see some free-swimming fry!!! All this fishy drama is so fascinating to me!
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post #486 of 828 Old 03-04-2013, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Red face JellyBean BOOM! Part 1 - The story of The Speck

My little Jelly Bean Tetra have been terribly neglected thus far on this thread, and they've had more than their fair share of drama that I haven't put down yet. Plus I just love them, and it isn't fair to leave them out!

Back when Becoming was a 29, I fell hopelessly in love with two types of Tetra - Hyphessobrycon takase Coffee-bean tetra and Ladigesia roloffi - Jelly Bean tetra. I read as much as I could on both species (not much info to find out there), and began my quest to find them. Even though the Jelly Beans are highly recommended all over the place as being a really great, easy-to-keep beginner Tetra, they're IMPOSSIBLE to find!!! Months passed, and just as I had given up and turned my attention to Rasbora, I found my 'Beans!

I immediately ordered twenty of them, then realized that they were endangered, and freaked out a little! This was my first experience with Tetra (sort of - I had Neons in the past, before I knew anything about properly caring for a tank), also my first experience with having fish shipped, AND my first experience with wild-caught fish (technically the Kuhli loaches were wild-caught, but they'd been living in a tank for quite some time before I got them, the 'Beans were pretty much right off the boat). Three strikes against me, and I was pretty nervous about these lil' Beaners under my inexperienced care.

They arrived on Friday the thirteenth of July (4 strikes!?) and went right into the 20g QT tank I set up for them the night before (more info/pics/vids on their earlier days with me can be found on this thread). They were pale and stressed in comparison to how they are now, and their QT tank changed dramatically as I got to know them, and their preferences.

I gave them a couple of weeks in very dim lighting, then slowly brought the tank up to full light. As soon as I did, I noticed that one of my little Beaners had a tiny little. . . speck. . . on his pectoral fin - I think he came in with it.

The image below was taken in late July, when I first noticed The Speck:

The Beaners are not very big fish - and this one was the smallest of the bunch, he was about as big across as my thumbnail when I first got him, so trying to get a good look at his speck was really difficult! At first it looked like it might have been fuzzy, like a fungus, but closer inspection (and a few pictures) brought me to the conclusion that it was a growth of some sort. I sent out PM's and E-mails to everyone who trusted to help me understand what it was, and what I should do about it, and the opinions I got back were very divided (as I've since learned they tend to be when it comes to fish).

I'd never dealt with any of this before, so after thoroughly considering the possible pros and cons of all the advice I had gotten, I decided that I didn't want to do anything that would add to their stress - these guys had been swimming free a very short time ago, and had come a long (and probably traumatic) way to get to my door! I unwilling to separate poor Horton from his shoal - he seemed not to be bothered by his speck, and it hadn't spread. Nor did I feel comfortable turning their cozy little QT tank into a barren hospital tank and treating them all with chemical treatments. Exposing them to strong meds for the first time seemed like a risky route to take. So after much deliberation, I chose not to do anything but what I was doing already - keep a close eye on them, and keep the water as clean as possible. The Speck never went away, but Horton kept right on kickin.' After a few weeks with no changes, I ran a treatment of Pima and Mela fix through the system just in case it would have any effect (it was the only thing I was remotely comfortable with using on them). I started with a 1/4 dose, and slowly upping it to full strength when they had no problems - but of course it didn't do anything! After that, I left him alone through their remaining time in QT.

In the interim, I read every book and article on fish health that I could find that had anything that remotely resembled Horton's Speck, and came to the conclusion (I think) that it was some type of tumor or perhaps epitheliocystis, which there isn't really anything to be done for, anyway. Jelly Bean Tetra are endangered because their natural waterways are becoming pouted by local development. I ran time and time again into studies suggesting that pollution of waterways triggers such growths in wild-caught fish.

By the time I moved the Beaners into the 55, The Speck had grown significantly, and while it still didn't seem to be bothering him, it still worried me. It had now engulfed his entire pectoral fin, and had continued to spread underneath his chest. . .It was only a matter of time before it would start interfering with his swimming, breathing, or internal organs, but he was still okay, and it wasn't spreading to the others.

Below is an image of Horton taken in early October, you can see how much The Speck had grown compared to the first image. . .

Still unwilling to QT Horton all alone, or put him out of his seemingly non-existent 'misery,' and with none of the other 'Beaners showing signs of a similar fate, they remained quite happily in their well-planted QT until moving into Becoming when she moved into the 55.

The 'Beans are a nippy group amongst themselves, with a temper that perfectly compliments their 'firey' orange fins - and they're constantly on the move. I have come to the conclusion that the males, once they reach spawning age, each pick out teensy tiny territories, and they patrol them aggressively, attempting to nip at the fins of any other male that comes too close, while trying to usher in willing females. They don't bother anyone else in the tank, but they sure do pick on each-other quite a bit. For the most part, no damage is done - the nippee moves away as quickly as the nipper moves in, so they don't usually get bitten, but when they were moved into Becoming, they were extra nippy with each-other during the first few weeks while they were establishing new territories. At that time, I noticed several top and tail-fins with nibbles taken out of them, and within that first month or two, one of the other beans got a a Speck where an injury had been.

He was dubbed 'Who,' and once his Speck appeared, it grew very quickly. Within a week, one of the OTHER Beans (Clover) developed a Speck in the same spot on his tail-fin, too. Now there were three, and I was ready to QT them - together.

I decided to put the three of them in the smallest established tank that I had, so they'd always be in sight of each-other. That was the 3g that belonged to my daughter's Betta, ShimmerBlue. Shimzy was already scheduled to upgrade into a 5g, so I decided to make the switch on the same night. I asked my husband if he would help when the time came - I'm no good at catching specific tiny fish. He agreed, and I got to work in my daughter's room, preparing Shimmer's 5g for the move.

While I was working, my husband called from the other room, 'What tank are the Tetra going into?' Not really thinking about it, I called back 'The Betta tank.' Um. What I didn't realize at the time was that he had ALREADY CAUGHT HORTON and was putting him into the tank WITH THE BETTA right at that moment. I was happily building a purple paradise for Shimmer in the 5g, when he called out "WOAH! I THINK SHIMMER IS GOING TO EAT YOUR FISH. . . HE JUST BIT ONE OF THEIR TAILS OFF!"

Of course, I dropped everything and ran into the next room, where - sure enough - Who's tail tip on top had been bitten down to the quick. I threw the tank lid off, and scooped Shimmer out and into a bucket of tank water that was at the ready to go into the 5g. Horton was nowhere to be found. . . and Shimz had a very fat tum. I can't blame the man, it was my fault for not being very clear - but I didn't think he'd go and catch the fish until I told him to! *sigh* At that point, I was done with it. Horton was gone (probably a blessing in disguise), Who was badly injured, and Clover hadn't been caught yet - so I just put Who back into the 55, and decided that I'd live with their Specks for better or worse.

I treated the main tank with PimaFix and Melafix, and after a week, Who's tail showed REMARKABLE regrowth - and no sign of the tumor returning!

A week after that, I couldn't pick Who out from the group. He was all healed up and Speck-free! At this point I contemplated surgery on Clover, but decided that I couldn't do it. It all came out okay though, because on Thanksgiving, someone gave him a fin-nip that took Clover's Speck right off. I'm not sure who the Sturgeon fish (lol) was, but I'm forever in his debt. Clover healed up nicely, and now the entire shoal is Speck-free, nearly four months later.

Otherwise, things have gone fairly well since they came to live with me. . . though, I'm not sure if I'm doing such a great job with caring for them, I try my best and those that are still here seem happy enough, so I hope there will be no more drama from this point forward!
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post #487 of 828 Old 03-04-2013, 05:25 PM
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What a story! Not sure if I'm more impressed with your ability to photograph a specfic small fish or your husband's ability to net a specific small fish (without tearing up your plants). I had no idea bettas would eat other fish either...holy mackeral.
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post #488 of 828 Old 03-04-2013, 06:59 PM Thread Starter
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LOL! Thanks! I still really suck at taking pictures of them. Be more impressed with HIS ability to net said small fish - he's a MASTER at it! A pleasure to watch. *AHEM* of course, I wasn't watching this time. . .

I knew that the Betta would go after those super bright orange fins. I would never have risked putting the two together, though I really wouldn't have expected him to EAT the fish, the tailfin - yes, absolutley. The whole fish? Not so much - I'm a bit of the impression that even HE may not have known he was going to eat him, until it happened. . . Horton was such a small little guy *cries* he had grown, but was still under 1". In such a small 3g tank - planted or not, there wouldn't have been anywhere to escape. I hadn't fed Shimz that day, because I was planning to move him, but STILL! It isn't as if Shimmer is starving, he's fed twice daily by a five year old pellet counter!!! Well, it is what it is. I should have realized my husband doesn't know stuff. I'm just glad it was Horton, because. . . sooner or later, The Speck would have grown to a point where something would have had to be done about it. . . and I have a REALLY hard time with that kind of thing. Bonus, he took care of Who's Speck, too!

Just glad they're all gone, and hoping I never see any specks again! (unless, of course, it's Speckles the frog. HER I hope to see for a long, long time. Cuz' she's a very cute lil' Specks!)
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post #489 of 828 Old 03-04-2013, 07:22 PM
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NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! :O! Poorr fin!!! :O!

my reaction before I saw you got him well. Good stuff :) hahahhaa
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post #490 of 828 Old 03-04-2013, 07:29 PM
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Oh wow!! I never knew all the trouble your little 'Beans went through. Glad that everything came out okay, well mostly. I guess it just goes to show that bettas don't do well with small colorful fish.
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