So. . . wedding up-do completed to the Bride's satisfaction, it's fishy update time!
It's very obvious that these little fishies are learning as much as I am (likely much more) from their past foibles, and they're doing amazingly well this time around! They did their 'dance' long before dinner time, so their territory and the eggs were all settled before the tank went food crazy. They also chose a different spot this time - a much better one, closer to the left side of the tank. The last two tries they were nearly dead-center, which made it way more difficult for them to defend from every direction, and really confused the rest of the fish, as the middle of the tank is the most active communal area. Having the nest tucked further in the corner allowed me to feed the community on the right side of the tank, more or less keeping the activity away from Liz and the babes, and Liz was perfectly content to allow me to hand-feed her, so I knew she got a full tummy and she never had to leave guard duty. . . hand feeding prevented any food hitting the substrate in that area, which kept the loaches from rooting in the area as much as they normally would. The other inhabitants also
seem to be learning from past experience - to leave those two alone when they start acting funny! The end result has been. . . surprisingly peaceful, especially when compared to the last time around, which was a complete disaster. . . Here is a video taken last night of Liz standing guard. C.Cat is around, mostly working on digging nursery pits (he dug one so deep last night that I could barely see his tailtips poking out of the ground, silly boy!) They switch positions near the end, and C.Cat takes a turn in the last few moments.
C.Cat and Liz are back to working together to guard their young, which is a relief for all involved. C.Cat means well, but he's easily distracted - by me at the glass, food, and pretty much everything else. He's also not nearly as nippy as Liz. C.Cat has always been a really laid-back kind of dude. He fell into top rank with little trouble after he was reintroduced to the tank after his illness last year. . . being the only mature male, he's never HAD
to defend his position. On the other hand, Liz and Hattie have been going back and forth as to who's queen since day one - she's much
more experienced at being aggressive and defending her territory than C.Cat is, and always follows through. She doesn't leave the brood for long, and is ruthless when shooing others away. . . here's a video that shows just a bit of Liz's snarky side. . . as well as C.Cat derping around trying to get a good look at me and my video camera. Love my little man, even if he's an idiot ;)
By last night, we had eye-spots. . . and this afternoon, the wigglers started popping out! I got to see about a quarter of them getting moved to the nursery pit before I had to go. I'm sure they'll probably move the pit several times, though they haven't yet. I'm hoping that they don't - it's deep and in the perfect spot at the back of the tank, very well guarded by the tank wall, roots, and Indian Almond leaves - bonus, I can see the babies reflection perfectly in the glass back there, so I still get to watch! At this point all of the wigglers are accounted for, squirming and bouncing their TINY LITTLE HEARTS
out *swoons for tiny fishy hearts*
This is as far as we've gotten to date with ram eggs. . .fingers are firmly crossed that we'll still have babies tomorrow morning. They're doing SUCH
an amazing job this time around. . . maybe? Juuuuust maybe we can make it to day 4 this time??! Have to wait and see next time on As the Tank Turns. . . ;)