21 July 2016

in the dark

Just dosed the tank with Levamisole HCI. After a lot of asking on the forums, I dosed very conservatively because of the kuhlis and otocinclus- only 0.3 grams (as close as I can estimate that with the little measuring spoon that came in the packet). Turned off the tank light and draped the sides with black plastic to keep it dark. I did some of my regular tank maint today- trimming plants and rinsed prefilter sponge- so that tomorrow when I have extra work to do the bigger wc (75%) I can just focus on that. Will dose the plant ferts tomorrow. I kind of like how the tank looks in the dark-
I used a new fish trap/feeding station I made, yesterday. Don't have a picture yet but I'll get one next time. It has an entrance hole in the cap just big enough for a kuhli, and two exit holes at the other end. So I can feed the kuhlis and the barbs can't get it. Or I can catch which kind of fish I want, by having the cap on or off, blocking the exit hole or not. I was surprised how much those kuhlis ate- I gave them soaked betta micropellets. The black kuhlis ate three or four apiece- I could actually see the pellets going into their tummies. I looked back at old pics when I first got these fish and realized the black ones were much thicker in the body back then. I wonder now if they have not quite been getting enough to eat all this time, because the barbs compete as bottom-feeders? or because they are also carrying parasites. Wish I'd done this treatment a lot sooner, now. I feel bad for them.

The striped kuhlis would not come to the feeding station, but while the barbs were focused on trying to get in, I was able to give them a few pellets under the log on other side of the tank. I saw the skinniest one Snaky Fish eating, which is a big plus. This morning fed all the fishes as normal and he was out eating with the rest again too. Saw him climbing more in plants again yesterday. His behavior says he's feeling much improved!

And while all the fishes were swarming around the food trap, the smallest male cherry barb took advantage of the distraction to mate with a female. They were spawning behind the rotalas, in the thicket of elodea, up amongst the floating watersprite. Usually this little guy is really flirtatious but the bigger males drive him away. I thought this was really funny he got his chance.

The males' fins are ragged- poor water quality because I added root tabs last week? or from sparring. The biggest red male was also the most determined- long after the other barbs gave up trying to reach the food he kept at it, thrasing with all his might at the air holes where he could smell it. Also posturing and keeping the other fish away. 

When I'm dong with medicating the tank, going to look closely at the ferts dose, light intensity and feeding routine again. I want to make sure the kuhlis get plenty to eat now, without causing more algae issues from overfeeding. Maybe reducing a bit of ferts or cutting the light slightly can balance that... Also: some of my barbs have pale patches on their skin again. It really shows up when the moonlight is on, the areas show bright white under the blue. I'm afraid it might be some kind of fungus. To treat for that I'd have to catch and put them in QT again... Wondering now if some of my fishkeeping practices are still poor. I have separate buckets and containers just for use on the tanks, white buckets are for new, clean water, orange ones for the wastewater. But I often pluck small plants, bits of subwassertang, out of the orange buckets that got sucked with the siphon, and return them to the tank. Or rinse the filter sponges in the orange buckets. I should probably not do that, or make sure those buckets stay cleaner, bleach them out and rinse regularly. There is probably scum accumulating on the walls from the dirty water that goes in them. I wiped them down today and yeah, the rag was brown.

My filter is making slight grinding noise again. It's louder after restarting when I finished the tank work. Tomorrow I will try greasing the impeller shaft (vaseline).

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