01 May 2017

another transfer

Out, this time. I moved the cherry barbs out of the 38gal tank. Everything was fine up until a few days ago I noticed more cherry barbs had pieces missing of their tails. I thought at first it was from the usual sparring- there has been a lot of breeding behavior lately, the cherries seem to be at it at least twice a week. They get excited at water changes, at thunderstorms, at insect food.

But when I looked closer one morning and saw that every single cherry barb had a ragged, bitten tail I knew it was the serpae tetras. Shameful thing is that I like the serpaes. Should I feel bad for favoring them over my cherry barbs? who went through my learning curve.... but I love watching the serpaes, and I'm only just fond of the cherry barbs- even though I've had some of those over four years- so the serpaes got to keep the best digs in the house (if you're a fish) and the barbs moved out into the temporary tanks.
All the extra equipment had only been rinsed and dried off for a day (from the shrimp container). The QT got setup with half tank water/half new (to keep water chemistry close to home), the 50 watt heater, a handful of gravel out of the main tank in the sponge filter base to seed it, most of the hornwort floaters out of the 20H to bring over more bacteria, a small bunch of subwassertang trimmings tied onto a stone, and the usual bridge decor for hiding spot plus fake plants.

It felt like I spent all day at two things- moving fish and doing laundry. I set the bottle fish trap with sinking food, and the kuhlis really had a great time going in and out of the trap gorging themselves. Every time two or three barbs got into the trap I'd lift it out, tip them gently into a baggie, float in the other tank, adding the new tank water every ten minutes until acclimated enough to release. It would take half an hour or so for the barbs in the home tank to get over being frightened by the trap getting moved around, and approach it for the food again. Near end of day little bits of disintegrating pellet were drifting out the air holes of the trap, so it wasn't as effective anymore. I caught the last few barbs with a net. That took a lot of patience, as I didn't want to panic all the fishes in there or rip up plants... but I finally got them. I put the females in with the swordtails in the 20H, and the males into the 10g QT. Want to keep them separated so females don't get chased around, and have time to heal.
The males seemed to feel right at home in their tenner. First one released hid,
but when I put a few more in they immediately started sizing each other up, and when all five were all in there they were darting around displaying at each other and playing in the current from the filter. Fed eagerly when I offered peas this morning.
You can see how much their tails are torn,
but I think they should heal. None have fungus or rot yet.
The females feel differently about their new home. They are all hiding, staying low behind plants at substrate level. I'm not sure if they are nervous because this tank is more open with fewer plants,
or because they share it with larger fish (although the swordtails ignore them).
They blend in so perfectly with the gravel hues that from a distance it looks like there's no fish in the tank at all (if they swordtails are lying still, which they do from time to time- resting, I think). I kept a background on the tank an extra day to help them settle in. They fed well this morning, too. I am testing water parameters- so far no ammonia or nitrite spikes in either the 20H or the tenner. Doing small partial water changes each morning anyway, to help facilitate healing. The tenner gets one gallon changed out, the 20H gets two.
As a side note, I stuffed that little internal filter in the swordtail tank with media out of the canister and HOB when I switched out filters earlier in the week. Since it wasn't getting as big a wc as the main did after meds, I put in the carbon filter pad it came with. On the output side of that I dropped a bunch of those tiny sintered glass media from the main's canister- the tiniest ones that get stuck in the grill of that separation piece that holds media away from the head (or base). On the input side I stuck a few ceramic rings on one side, and wedged the fine floss on the other. I have a piece of sponge that will fit in here, planning to replace that carbon media with sponge soon. If this won't all screw up my filter function- I know I made a mistake before altering contents of a filter!

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