I am a long-time fish keeper with a passion for planted and aquascaped tanks. So naturally, when a good friend of mine expressed interest in 'scaping a 10g shrimp tank I was all for it!
So tra la la, we cycle the tank for two weeks, then head off to our local LFS for a few plants to continue the cycle. We dip the plants, and put them in the tank. Of course, even with the dip, we had to deal with an influx of snails, but no big deal. Also, NO FISH. This is very important.
Another two weeks in, we test the tank and it appears to be fully cycled. So since she likes crystal red shrimp and they like a well-cycled and mature tank, we pop in a couple guppies to help it mature. Of course, they breed.
This is where it gets weird.
About the same time as the guppy fry arrive, two totally different fry show up. They are about twice the size of guppy fry and so have obviously been there for awhile, but we did not purchase any fish, and the plants came from a fish-free shrimp tank, and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed two extra fish in the guppy bag. They must have come in as eggs or wigglies on the plants, but we bleach dipped it! I mean, I've had snails survive a bleach dipping (as evidenced by this tank) but eggs and/or non-free swimming fry? That's crazy.
What's stranger? I have no idea what they are. I thought originally that they were siamese algae eaters, but now at about 6 weeks old and about 1.25" long, they are starting to look and act very different. I don't have a recent picture (the ones I have are very blurry) but I did up a quick computer sketch:
(I'm sorry if the image is incorrectly imbeded, I'm not good with this technology stuff)
Like the image says, they have an upturned mouth, not a sucker mouth. They are pretty placid, though the larger, more colourful one has started to chase the smaller one a fair bit. The two do spend a lot of time together, though, like schooling fish. Both leave the guppies and the guppy fry entirely alone. Their mouths are really tiny; I'm not sure they would even be able to eat a newborn guppy fry if they wanted to, but they don't even try. They hang out mostly in the plants near the substrate, but aren't timid and will come out to eat voraciously when the fry food is in the tank. I have not seen them picking at the plants, or algae, or try to eat anything other than very small pieces of crushed food. The look kind of like a pencilfish, but they have the wrong tail, and the dorsal fin is not the right shape. The larger one has started to get a very nice red on his anal fins and belly, and his back has turned a striking steel blue. The other is mostly still gray, black and white. The next time I'm over at her place, probably this weekend, I'll grab a few photos.
I've spent hours on the internet, looking at pictures of fish, and I don't even know what family they are from. Does any one have any ideas? Because I'm drawing a blank. We are currently calling it "Chloe loricus
", after my friend!