End of an Unfortunate Life…

There had been a few guppy fries which were born with weird body shapes or ailments, and though most of them have been living fine, there are one or two unfortunate ones who could not survive after weeks of struggle:

This unfortunate fry’s body was curved up like a letter ‘C’ since born and he was still able to swim quite normally. It was only until recently that another fry with a similar condition started swimming strangely, spinning in circles, and died shortly after that.

I wonder if it was because of coincidence that both fries died shortly one after another, or was there other problems with the water conditions etc? One of the Otto that we bought had also recently passed away. I will continue to perform our weekly water change nevertheless.

On the other hand, there were quite a number of fries that had slight deformations on their bodies (e.g. croaked spine) but they appeared to be living fine so far.

Natural Attraction

Today I checked the hospital tank on the condition of Vibrant, and although he still has a good appetite, his strength seems to be failing him, as he begins to just stay near the surface of the water, not wanting to waste his strength swimming around.

This might be a physological issue than a physical one, and so I thought. Physically, he no longer had any white spots on him; they seemed to have miraculously disapparated without any medication.

However, loneliness seemed to have crept onto him, having being isolated in a small space for more than 48 hours. This must be the first time he was alone since birth, and he must have missed the companionship he had, especially with Nemo in the Main Tank.

Seeing that there is no reason to keep him quarantined anymore, and fearing his health might deteroriate further if we were to keep him isolated any longer, I netted him up and placed him back into the Main Tank.

Visibly surprised, or rather dumbfounded, Vibrant just swam in the tank slowly, confused what was happening around him. Perhaps he did not stay in the Main Tank long enough previously to immediately recognise where he was in. However, Nemo was quick to spot him and swifly swim by him, tapping the side of his body with her mouth. From books, I have read that this was an intimate body language for a female.

Nemo kept close to Vibrant, seemingly observing him and not forgetting to tease him now and then with her ‘intimate’ touch. Vibrant, apparently still in a stunned state, did not return the favour.

His stunned state reminded me of Nemo when she first arrived, where I had placed her in a small container first to observe her. She had immediately appeared ‘stoned’ and refused to move even when I nudged her softly. Afraid that she might die just like that, I took a risk and netted her into the Main Tank. Almost instantly she came alive again and started swimming around actively. What a pleasant surprise that was!

Looks like Gouramis need companionship and are afraid of loneliness. A very interesting species indeed.

White spots?

Just when we were glad that our two gouramis are happily together as a pair, we noticed that there were some white spots on the new gourami. To prevent him from passing the virus to the other fishes (especially Nemo since they are of the same species), I quickly set up the hospital tank and brought him over for quarantining.

Anyway, I have decided to name him Vibrant as he has very nice colour on his scales. Hopefully his colour won’t diminish over time in our aquarium.

Upon reaching the isolated hospital tank, Vibrant was of course stressed, unable to understand why he was suddenly captured into another place where he would have no access to other fishes, especially his newly known friend Nemo.

As the hospital tank was placed side to side against the Main Tank intentionally, Vibrant could have a clear view of the fishes in the Main Tank, and vice versa.

In the Main Tank, Nemo soon realised that Vibrant was missing and quickly spotted him through the glass wall. She moved over swiftly, trying to pass through the invisible wall but unfortunately she couldn’t. They were like a couple who was cruelly separated.

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Meanwhile, we have not yet decided what medication to put, and decided to observe him a few more days first before we decide what to do next.

Nemo’s New Mate

I dropped by the fish shop at Vista Point on Wednesday’s (25th July) evening, determined still to find a companion for Nemo, worried she might still get kinda lonely on the long term.

Fortunately, I managed to find a tank full of these orangey-reddish thick-lipped gouramis in the shop. However, they appear to be quite small-sized compared to what Nemo is now. Of course, when we first bought Nemo, she was approximately the same size as these fishes.

From the tank of young gouramis, I tried to pick the largest male gourami. This wasn’t an easy feat, considering that almost all the gouramis in the tank has rounded dorsal fins (which indicate female gender). I was quite surprised that the shop was carrying so many female gouramis, as they tend to appear less attractive than their male counterparts.

On the other hand, these gouramis were in fact very attractive looking, vibrant in colour and much more reddish than Nemo. They might have fed them some natural or artificial colour additives (e.g. carrots?) during their growing stages?

Anyway, I knew I had to take some risk and pick the one with the least curved dorsal fin, and I located ‘him’, and quickly netted him up. He was also one of the larger sized in the tank, so that suited our criteria.

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Upon arriving home, I switched off the lights for the Main Tank, so that the old/new fishes would not be caught surprised at the new environment/arrival. I left the plastic bag containing the new gourami afloat, allowing the water temperature in and out of the bag to synchronise.

After thirty minutes later, I poured the fish into a temporary container, before netting him into the Main Tank. This was to prevent the water from the fish shop to infiltrate into our tank, in case there was some undesirable substance.

Upon entering the tank, the gourami appeared a little afraid, as like other new fishes, but was pretty quick to locate Nemo, the only other fish which was of the same species.

He approached her cautiously while Nemo looked at him curiously. It was after a while when Nemo started chasing him around the tank. Till now, we are still unsure if this is a friendly or aggressive gesture.

Occassionally they would curdle a little close to each other, reminding me of the mating dance gouramis do. Hopefully this would mean they are on good terms and the new gourami is indeed of the male species.

The new gourami had been pretty shy still, even during meal times, and would often stay away from the crowd, which was eagerly fighting for the food. Fortunately I managed to coax him into eating some veggy food I dropped, and once he tasted them, his appetite turned for the better and started to be more active in searching for food. This is definitely a good start as it shows signs of assimilation into this new environment.

Nemo’s Solitary Life

Ever since Fiesty passed away (see Farewell, Fiesty), his mate Nemo has become the lone Gourami in the Main Tank.

Witnessing her mate’s frailing health but not his death, Nemo had been swimming quite franatically around the tank over the weekends, shortly after he died. She appeared to be stressed out realising that her mate was no longer with her in the same tank, and could have suspected he had already gone to the next world.

She had also been staying at the rear side of the tank, the place where Fiesty used to build his bubblenests at. Perhaps being at his freqented place might increase the chance to seeing him again, and so she might think. Unfortunately, as sad as we were, Fiesty won’t be returning, and Nemo’s wait would be futile.

On the bright side, she would return to her normal self during meal times, where she would happily swim towards the food and makes sure she would be the first to get as much food as possible. I do sure hope that is the reason behind her slighly bloated stomach, instead of internal parasites. Since last Saturday, I have yet observed the long stringy white poop from her so maybe she has miraculously recovered from her ailments?

I have tried to look for a good mate for her yesterday evening, checking out the three fish shops at Marsiling area, but failed to find them selling the same species of Gourami. I will have to look elsewhere for it then.

Meanwhile, Nemo seems to have started getting used to her solitary lifestyle, and she has stopped swimming franatically up and down the tank walls. Perhaps she has realised that living a carefree life with no fish chasing after her now and then isn’t so bad afterall?

Farewell, Fiesty

Yes, Fiesty, one of the largest and oldest occupant in our tank, has breathed his last this afternoon at slightly before 4pm.

After transferring to the hospital tank, he began to show signs of inactivity, lying low at the bottom of the tank.

It has only after some time later when I realised that he started to swim weirdly, unable to balance himself. These were signs of damage to his swimming bladder, and Cat and I knew he might have already crossed the point of no return at this stage.

Besides his bloated stomach, his scales at that region were also pointing out, clear signs of Dropsy, a disease that was difficult to cure.

On the other hand, Nemo appeared better and we decided to shift her back to the Main Tank quickly, before she gets infected (I can’t recall if Dropsy is infectious) or demoralised seeing the death of her mate.

Indeed, Fiesty was struggling to keep afloat after a while later, and gradually sank to the bottom of the tank after futile tries of keeping his balance. It was a pain to see him suffering and swimming closer to the end of his life. I have turned off the filter too in case the water current generated was too strong for him, but that did not help much to improve his condition.

Worried that the water conditions with the medication were too much for him, I quickly scooped up water from the Main Tank using a new container and quickly transferred him there, hoping that it was the water that was aggrevating his condition.

However as the clock ticked to four, he ended his struggle, and breathed his last.

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He will be dearly missed, since he had been with us for more than six months. Ever since his partner Guai Guai had left due to injuries (see R.I.P Guai Guai), Fiesty had been actively preparing for his offsprings as he diligently built bubblenests to store the eggs laid by Nemo during their countless mating sessions. That was despite the repeated times that his nests were disturbed during my weekly water change and plant pruning sessions.

Though we managed to locate and transfer a few of his fries to another tank (see More Fry Surprises!), we did not manage to keep them alive, and all of them were dead/disappeared after less than a week.

Fiesty has been a little on the aggressive since he arrived, and at some point of time he even defended his terroritory with great aggression while he warded off the other fishes which tried to even get close to his nests. But we later understood that he was merely performing his job to protect his offsprings and playing his role as a father.

He had been one of the main focus of the Main Tank, especially after Garra had departed (see Rest in Peace, Zarra), so now the tank looks empty and lack of activity after the big guy left, leaving the poor Nemo all alone.

Nemo has been acting quite franatic over the past few hours, seemingly searching high and low for her mate. She seemed to know that he is no longer present, especially after being with him during his final hour. It is always sad to lose one’s mate, and this is no exception for the fishes. We have been the Corydoras behaving the same way when their mate/buddy passed away.

We hope to introduce a new male Gourami to keep Nemo company, but that will be after we are assured Nemo is well and ready to accept a new mate. Right now, her stomach is still bloated and we will observe for a while more before deciding if we are to perform medication for her, which may aggrevate her health, ironically.

On a lighter note, just minutes after Fiesty’s death, we noticed new fishes in the Main Tank — Fei Fei our female guppy had started giving birth to new fries again. We caught eye of four to five dark-coloured fries as we were scanning through the tank for abnormality.

Life and Death… The line seems so thin between them, and the cycle seems to be so nicely intertwained in nature.

Gouramis’ Turn Now…

Just as we are recovering over our loss of the Albino Corydoras (see Another Rested in Peace…), we observed our two Gouramis — Fiesty and Nemo, behaving weirdly too.

210707_fiestyparasite.jpgI have noticed that Fiesty stopped building his bubblenest (and thus no mating between them), and both are having a bloated stomach. Nemo continued to feast on the food given to her, but Fiesty stopped eating totally today and hid himself at one corner of the tank. These are definitely tell-tale signs that they are not being their normal selves and possible health problems.

Noticing long stringy white poop from both of them, I immediately knew they were struck by internal parasites. However, I have yet determined the source of the parasites, whether it came from the dry guppy food pellets, vegetable dry food, or the corydoras pellets.

Meanwhile, I have set up using the largest hospital tank we have (we have three mini-tanks of three sizes) with the filter. Filling the tank with water from both the Main Tank and Guppy Tank, I netted both Gouramis out and placed them in the hospital tank.

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I then dropped a little of the Ocean Free Internal Parasite medication into the hospital tank.

Now we will continue to monitor them on their healths, and hope they will recover to their usual selves soon.