Mysterious Deaths

Our male Gourami and one of our Rasboras were found dead today.

For the Gourami, there was no visible physical deformity, so it is a mystery what led to his death all of a sudden. Just few days back, he was still aggressively chasing other fishes away from his bubblenest and fries (see Gourami Fries!)…

We have scooped up the surviving fries previously, so I wonder if it was due to stress/depression he suffered after finding out that the fries that he so dearly protected were gone? Or was it due to my ‘imprisonment’ overnight that caused him to be stressed out?

This morning, before I left for work, I did notice a long stringy white poop coming out from one of the female Gouramis. This was a sign of internal parasite, but I was in a hurry to go for work so did not quarantine her.

Linking the death and her parasite issue, I wonder if it is due to our tank parameters going haywire? Need to conduct pH and Ammonia tests tonight.

Another reason could also be due to the recent increase in our snail population; the dwarf loaches have been lazy in eating up the snails, as they had been enjoying the sinking pellets we dropped in during meal times for the Corydoras, SAE and Garra. We have read that snails might carry parasites which might pass to the fishes.

On another related/unreleated issue, one of our Rasboras had an injury to his jaw, causing it to swell up and he had to maintain his ‘mouth opened’ pose. He was swimming weakly and although we managed to quarantine him, he died a few hours later.

The reason to his death is still unknown, though I suspect it could be injuries while he was swimming away from the male Gourami’s attacks previously.

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Gourami Fries!

Since we introduced our three Gouramis (see Gouramis are back), they appeared to be busy mating, with the aggressive male Gourami chasing after the two females.

Things got worse this evening when we observed the tank, where the bubblenest had been destroyed and the male Gourami turned even more aggressive, chasing any of the fishes in the tank. Most likely, it was his aggressive behaviour that destroyed his own nest.

Unable to bear seeing the fishes suffering and hiding in corners of the tank, I netted the male Gourami and kept the net floating in the tank, so that he was separated from the rest of the inhabitants. He continued to be aggressive and attempted to break out of the net by dashing and poking at it.

Meanwhile, I noticed the two female Gouramis started coming up to him, trying to get close to him and looking concern about his plight. It was quite an amazing sight as the females did not seem to blame him for his aggressive behaviour towards them.

After a while though, one of the female Gouramis started moving towards the bubblenest (broken but still where most of the plant materials were at) and appeared to be hunting for ‘food’. Having some experience from our previous Gouramis, I quickly suspected the presence of Gourami fries, thus explaining the behaviours of these fishes.

Indeed, after quite a while of scanning the water surface, I managed to discover one tiny fry hiding beside some leaves. Understanding now why the male Gourami was so aggressive (to protect his offsprings), I let him out of the net, while preparing a small tank to transfer these fries over, so that they will not be eaten up.

After half-filling the small tank with water from the main Planted Tank, I used a small bowl to scoop up the nest and the water surrounding it. Since the bowl has a white base, it made it easier for us to determine if we have successfully scooped up any fry, since they are so small that it’s hardly noticeable to our naked eyes.

We continued scooping up the waters until we were satisfied that almost all of the fries have been rescued. There were probably about a dozen of them. The vegetation used for the bubblenest was also transferred over to the fry tank as a shelter.

The next thing we needed to do was to provide the fries with a source of food, since they are so tiny that normal food pellets can no longer apply to them. According to what I’ve read, only Infusoria could be small enough to fit into their mouths.

Simply said, Infusoria is a collective term for minute aquatic creatures like ciliate, euglena, paramecium, protozoa and unicellular algae that exist in freshwater pond water.

Upon seeing the Gourami building the nest, I read up on how to cultivate infusoria in case the eggs are fertilised and hatched, and started preparing:

I took a small countainer (the bigger the mouth, the better as better air circulation enhances infusoria growth) and filled it with the tank water. Then I took some pieces of leftover vegetables and two slices of cooked potatos in it, and left it near a window.

According to the article, the water will turn cloudly in a few days, signifying that the bacteria that infusoria feeds on is present. We are supposed to wait a while more till the clouding of the water diminishes, which would mean that the infusoria has consumed the bacteria and started to grow.

Though the current water is still cloudly, I have no choice but to put a spoonful into the fry tank in case they get starved.

Meanwhile, we will continue to monitor the fries and the cultivating container.

Gouramis are back

We had several Gouramis with us since the start of our hobby, but unfortunately they did not last very long. For our Orange Gourami Guai Guai, he died soon after being trapped in one of our ornaments (see R.I.P Guai Guai and Fish Rescue…). As for our other Gourami Fiesty, he died soon after too)(see Farewell, Fiesty).

Gouramis are known to be vulnerable to infections so we have been wary to introduce new Gouramis into our tank. Still, seeing that our tank were pretty empty after the guppy’s epidemic (see Guppies’ Epidemic), we decided to put our experience with Gouramis in good use and believe that they would be able to make it through this time round.

So while we were shopping for Goldfishes at Qian Hu (see A New Beginning…), we had also bought three Gouramis, one male and two females. This is because male Gouramis are territorial in nature and so it is advisable to get only one male in one tank. As for why two females are preferred, this is because the male Gouramis are often aggressive when mating season comes, and at least the females can share the ‘burden’.

After we placed the three Gouramis into our main Planted Tank, the male Gourami soon started building a bubblenest, probably due to the suitable environment we had provided him, such a abundance shading and plants, and the presence of female Gouramis, while him being the only male.

He soon started his aggressive behaviour and chased after the female Gouramis, wanting them to mate with him below the bubblenest so that eggs could be deposited into the nest. However, he hasn’t been successful yet in our opinion, as we have yet seen the mating dance itself, where the male will curl up around the female.

One of the two female Gouramis:

Our observation continues while he continuously reinforcing the nest and protecting it.

A New Beginning…

Following the migration of the remaining guppies in the original 2-feet Guppy Tank (see Future of the Guppy Tank), we have planned a new beginning for the tank — by introducing Goldfishes into it.

The initial interest in Goldfish started out from Cat, where we bought a nano tank to house two young goldfishes, named Zhu Zhu and Hua Hua (see New GoldFishes).

As for me, I was not interested in goldfishes initially but after walking through the goldfish tanks/containers in Qian Hu (a huge and famous fish farm locally), I was beginning to be mesmerized by their beauty.

And so given the opportunity that we had an empty tank, and a rather big tank (2-feet), the idea of getting more goldfishes (and bigger ones) came to our minds.

And so early yesterday morning, we drove down to Qian Hu and began our Goldfish shopping. There were bigger, better quality Ranchu at S$30 each, and smaller ones at S$12. After considering quite a while, we decided to just get the S$12 ones and witness them grow bigger. We got two Ranchus (Cat’s favourite).

As for me, I’m more interested in goldfishes with long, flowing tails and so the Orandas (a cross between the lionhead and veiltail to produce a fish showing the body features of the veiltail with the characteristic hood of the lionhead) caught my eyes immediately. We bought two Orandas at S$5 each (cheaper than the Ranchus).

We also bought three Gouramis for the main Planted Tank.

As we needed to rush off after we reached home, we only placed their plastic bags floating on the tanks (to adjust to the right water temperature for the fishes) for a while before opening the bags and netting them into their respective tanks.

When we reached home in the evening, we turned on the lights and one of the Ranchus was shocked and quickly hid underneath one of the bridge ornaments, refusing to come out despite us dropping some food pellets in front of him.

Fortunately, after we left them alone for a while, they gradually became braver and started to swim around the tank leisurely. That was when we managed to see them displaying their torso and fins:

The Ranchus:

The Orandas:

Check out their individual photos at our Current Fishes page.

Future of the Guppy Tank

Following the Guppies’ Epidemic which left us with only around 10 guppies, it was time we decide what to do with the almost vacant 2-feet tank.

While some idea came to our minds, we moved on to vacate the tank of the remaining guppies and performing a 70% water change to clear off as much harmful bacteria and particles.

Using a quarantine tank, we filled it up with aged (overnight) water to ensure the water was of good quality. We then netted up all the guppies from the 2-feet tank and placed them in it with some ornaments:

I then proceeded to drain out around 50% of the water in the 2-feet tank, before moving the substrate in a re-shuffling of the ornaments. A lot of particles were thus floating all over the tank, signifying how dirty the tank was due to a growing population of its previous inhabitants.

Anyway, the bottom dwellers, such as the SAE, two dwarf loaches and an Oto were still kept in the tank so they had to endure with all the disturbances. At one point, the SAE jumped out of the water due to shock but fortunately he did not jump out of the tank.

After the ornaments were placed in their new locations, another 20% of the water was drained out, before I proceeded to pour in the aged water.

This was how the vacanted tank looked like:

Guppies’ Epidemic

It has been a while since we updated on the status of our Guppy Tank, one of the main reasons being an epidemic had broken out in both our tanks since beginning of May.

Guppies started dying one after another, mainly suffering from fin and tail rot diseases. We tried to rescue the initial infected by isolating them into quarantine tanks and treating them with salt and Melafix, but those did nothing to help them.

Then the disease started to spread rapidly in both tanks simultaneously, the link between them unknown. The only similarity that we could determine was we stopped introducing Benefiical Bacteria and Vitamins solutions during each water change, since both had run out at roughly the same time. We thought the Ocean Free New Water solution would be sufficient to provide healthy and dechlorinated water to our fishes, but it appeared that it just wasn’t enough.

And so the guppies started to have their tails broken, leading to death gradually. From the videos/photos below, you will be able to see how our guppy population decreased drastically over a short period of time, leading to near extinction:

Taken on 2nd May 08, where many beautiful, active guppies were still swimming happily, oblivious to what tragic future was laid in front of them:

By 13th May 08, a handful of guppies had already passed away, especially the beautiful males:

On 19th May 08, the number of guppies had dropped drastically, leaving only a few surviving guppies (mostly females) still alive and kicking:

It’s saddening to see our entire collection of guppies just got hit by such an epidemic, but there was nothing much we could do.

Perhaps it’s time to bring our fish rearing hobby to another direction…?

Arrival of new SAE

The black brush algae in our Guppy Tank is growing profusely and with no one eating them, it will just be in a matter of time that they will overtake the tank:

That was why we decided to buy a SAE (Siamese Algae Eater) on 2nd May 08 for the Guppy Tank, as the one in our main Planted Tank has proven to be very effective in cleaning up the black algae.

The new SAE in his first few moments after entering the Guppy Tank:

By the next day, the SAE was already diligently combing out the black algae on the plants and ornaments:

By a week later, the tank was almost rid of its black algae: