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!