. . . about a variety of subjects

Merry Christmas from Fish Village

christmas 2009,fish-village
My Christmas present to myself was restoring a view through the 10g:view.
We have had algae, lots and lots of algae. Miserable amounts of three types
at last count. The worst by far was the hair-algae. I tried an Oto a month
ago but the poor little guy did not survive transportation shock despite my
best transportation and acclimation scheme.

I put five of the largest shrimp in that mess; it was too far gone and I knew it.
All through finals week, I knew I had to get at it myself but did not have the
time to devote to four hours of cleaning and replanting.

I also had another problem; that strange little b. splendens has always
been fascinated by the right side of the tank. Even when there is no
reflection to go after. She swims across the front of the tank, zooms
up to the right corner and back again.

Call this “Fish Behavior Modification.” B.F. Skinner style.

Two weeks ago I caught her throwing herself at the side of the tank.
This called for drastic action. Finally, I resorted to jamming
a square, clear glass vase in that corner to physically prevent her
from getting near it. While totally out of any aesthetic aqua-scaping
scheme, it was interesting to watch. She would still swim right
up to the glass box and stare at it, still annoying to watch. However,
she did not slam herself into it, nor did she particularly like being in
the box.

The Neons and White Clouds liked that box. It was sort of a
“time-out” box. It was fun to watch three fish cram themselves
into that box and nose around. There had been a fair amount
of aggression between various members of both shoals; probably
due to the decreasing amount of swimming area as the Radican
Marble Queen plus the burgeoning crops of algae cut down
the available free-space. The two female White Clouds are
full of eggs and seemed to bitterly resent any fish who was
within their personal space. None of that happened when
they swam into the glass box. However, that was a temporary
fix until finals were over. That box became a furry, green
cube and no longer interesting to watch.

The more I looked at my small scale showcase tank, the more
depressed I got; the more depressed I got, the more I procrastinated.
So my task for Christmas Eve was to attack the twin problems
and come up with a better behavior solution plus eradicate as
much of the algae as possible.

Sorry, there are no pics of the sorry state of affairs. My rechargeable
batteries hold a charge long enough to fire of a half a dozen shots
then they die. After four years, I guess I got my money’s worth.
I had them on the charger as I moved the shrimp back to their
shrimparium, holding my breath the whole time as there are
four of those fry in that tank. Then I moved the three Neons
into the shrimparium, Miss b. splendens went into her old
square jar, the other White Clouds into the scrubbed and
clean footed bowl of pond scum fame.

Next I started with the Radican, carefully sinking my hand into the
substrate, grabbing the roots, substrate and all. I shook the substrate
out of the roots and began pulling stems and leaves through my fingers
to rid it of the algae as best I could. Into the bucket with bleach it went.
Then into a clean water bucket with triple the dose of conditioner to soak
whilst I repeated the process with every plant in the tank except an airy
mystery plant I determined was too delicate to go into bleach solution.

I took a break to let the pea-soup water settle down. The Aqueon
filter I am so disappointed in got essentially the same treatment.
There went my beneficial bacteria. As I was sitting at the computer,
wrestling with code, I notices something moving. I thought it was a
wad of algae at first but saw a tell-tale flash of color; a shrimp
had escaped notice. And it was one of my favorite blue tinged
American glass shrimp I had not seen since it went into the 10g:view.

So like my hunter b. splendens, I wait until I can clearly see the little
critter and swoosh goes the net through all that green crap. I really did
not want to dump that crap into the shrimparium, so I took a chance and
held the net above the surface, shook it and hoped for the best.
I watched the shrimp float down to the front and scurry to a plant
for something to hold onto. Checked the fry, everyone was ignoring them.

As the algae settled, I became dismayed again. This would require
sucking all that crap up, letting the water settle, repeating three times.
It would also require removing most of the mulm. Alright then, in we go.
Out comes the unsightly green invasion, out comes the mulm & water.

I inspect the substrate for any sign I still have Malaysian Trumpet snails.
Not really. If there are any in there, they are babies and I cannot tell
by looking at the few tiny shells I see, if any are still alive. Damn that
b. splendens; just as I suspected; she has hunted them down for
a tasty snack. If I could just get her to eat pond snail eggs, life would
be grand!

That is when it hit me, the Cryptocoryne Lutea had great growth,
why not try building a hill of substrate and topping it with the
Lutea? That surely would keep that strange fish out of that
corner and prevent her from throwing herself at the side of
the tank, right? So it is written, so it was done; planted so
densely in two tightly staggered rows along the right side of the tank,
she surely will find something else to do, right?

There are a few baby C.Lutea along the back but the lovely scape
I was shooting for is gone. She has been spotted this morning trying
to shimmy her way into that right front corner again; however now she
gets caught in the plants and cannot easily get out. If this does not
extinguish this silly behavior, she will find a Lucky Bamboo jammed right
into that corner as well.

Both shoals have calmed down considerably. No chasing or irritability yet.
Much more free swimming room as the Radican was actually replanted lower
in the tank. The second baby Radican was topped; now we have
the mother without any offshoots, the medium with good root structure
and the smallest with several long roots to get started.
We will see how this goes over the next 10 days or so.

Peace, Joy and happy fish-tales to one and all.


2 responses to “Merry Christmas from Fish Village

  1. Giypsy March 30, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    What are you disagreeing with? Seems Electric Cement mixers and aquariums would not have much to disagree on, wouldn’t you agree? 😉

  2. Pingback: electric cement mixer

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