21 July 2017

some garden food

I have been neglecting the garden. For a while couldn't do much out there, and now that my doctor has given permission to get my hands dirty again, it's so hot I don't want to be out there. Just a few hours after dawn and at dusk when the temperatures are cooler. So production is not at best. I am still using herbs a lot, and starting to pick cherry tomatoes now and then.

The other day I pulled a bunch of carrots and steamed them. Very good! No more of that odd faintly soapy aftertaste I used to get with carrots. I wonder if it is companion planting with tomatoes that made the difference.
Green beans are pathetic again- this is all I got off all the plants. They look peaky from insect damage- leaf hoppers from what I can tell. But steady watering has got a new burst of flowers, so I am hoping for more in a little while.


I made a few mistakes which could have cost me my fry.

Too many mosquito larvae. I got excited to see the fry could actually eat them, so last time collected larvae I took all the teeniest ones out of the main jar, and then after letting dirt settle, got the even smaller ones out of the stuff that went through the shrimp net. It was over twenty tiny tiny larvae. I could only see them because they wiggled. I thought the fry wouldn't find them all, some would escape the mesh box or elude the little fish and get eaten later.  But I guess that fry is good at hunting them down, or it only takes a few to fill its tummy.

Later I looked in the box and to my alarm saw the fry hovering very still at the top of the water column. Its stomach was twice as large as I've ever seen. It obviously ate too much. I didn't know what to do besides a water change might help it feel a little better, so I did that. And didn't feed pulverized foods that evening, let it just pick stuff off the subwasser if it needed.

Next morning fry looked normal again, moving around constantly on its search for food. It is getting better at swimming, movement more smooth not so jerky. I will only give it five or ten larvae at a time now.

Another day I started to get concerned about my cories. They have been looking pale and a bit pinched, especially the smallest one. I have not kept cories since I was a kid, and back then I wouldn't have known what to look for, so it's hard for me to tell if they are underweight or not. When they swim up against the glass it looks like there is a slight keel shape underneath just behind the head, that doesn't look right to me. And their tummies are not very rounded- not sunken, just flat. The other day the smallest one was sitting very listlessly on the bottom and I swear it looked like a snail was moving in on it.

Two things could be wrong- recently I put a piece of pantyhose over the filter intake. I thought this would keep out little trumpet snails, and when I release my serpae fry into the tank, ease worry at it getting sucked into the filter. But I think it hindered the flow too much, I noticed the current across top of water very slowed down. So I took it off and the flow back up immediately the little fishes are swimming around frisky again. I will just have to be sure the fry is big enough, and I'm sure a healthy one can stay clear of the filter.

But today filter was overflowing, problem again. This didn't seem to be affecting the fishes yet, but I gently rinsed out the media, lots of hornwort needles clogging it. And then when I started it up again there was a rattle. I had to disassemble again and tip upside down and rinse to get it out. A tiny trumpet snail had got down into the bottom of the filter, sigh. All is running smooth again. I worried these filter disruptions would affect the fry, but it looks okay.

Also having issues with feeding. It's the opposite of my prior problem. Now it is Fabio who hogs the food. When I drop in three or four shrimp pellets at night it doesn't help, Fabio finds them anyway and in the morning he looks engorged, the cories pinched. The cories don't seem to like the soaked betta pellets so I went and bought some sinking Hikari wafers made specially for catfishes and loaches, and some NLS pellets- both among the best fish foods you can buy. Fabio hogs this too, of course and it's not the best food for him. I slightly overfed last night in hopes Fabio would stop with a tummy ache and the cories get some. This morning my cories look plump and happy, Fabio sits motionless and fat at thè substrate. It's not good for him. I don't know how to keep him away from the food not meant for him.

~ Wrote that two days ago. Hornwort still shedding like crazy, but only half the stems- the others seem to have adjusted and are holding their needles. I cleaned the filter out again- decaying needles clogging the flow- and removed all the unhealthy stems. Also decided to only do the small wc once a day- maybe that will ease the stress on this plant.

19 July 2017

fulltank shot and more

Main tank- quick photo from yesterday, showing how much more open the crypt thicket looks with the subwassertang trimmed back in front of it.
Here's my young crypt wendtii (bottom center)- and there's another one further back sprouted up near the driftwood.
and a bunch of little crypt petchii
I don't know why this young one of the unnamed green cluster is still slower-growing than the others
My one buce in here- 'emerald green' - is doing surprisingly well, sprouting a new leaf.
Hygro thicket has gotten very tall, I've let it grow higher than usual.

serpae fry: two weeks

At best estimate, my fry is two weeks old now. I tried very hard to get a photo, but there's no way my camera can replicate what my eyes see. I can now make out the adipose fin and I can see its digestive tract. With the thick layer of subwassertang now on the bottom of the box, it's often hard to see the fry at first-
but it's fun to watch it hunting down mosquito larvae in the greenery. It's learned to find them at the water surface, too, and to take food bites there. In this picture the fry is on the left just above that strip of light, head up tail down.
This picture it's in the upper right corner of the box.
Closest I could get, fry just above the subwassertang.

18 July 2017

gone snail

Well I think I found out why nitrates were high. My blue ramshorn snail is dead already. Bummer. I noticed it hadn't been moving in a few days, and plucked it out of the tank into a small container of tank water to observe, but that night the whole room stank like rotten something. Snail is gone.

It must get the blue color from the body tissue? The shell when empty is all white.

17 July 2017

mosquito larvae: food!

I have read often about how great mosquito larvae are for fish food- perfect nutrition. Even about how to collect them, but I never really recognized them until I peered close into this puddle in my yard on top of a tarp, and saw tiny things jerking around in the dim water. Not too hard to get them with a gentle siphon of finger on end of straw. They're evasive, though- especially the bigger ones- if see or sense end of the straw coming, jerk down to the bottom and I have to wait for them to come up to the surface again. Their movement is very herky jerky. I've got some in my little idea of a container pond, too- in spite of having laid a piece of window screen over it apparently a mosquito got in.

I don't want to put the dirty water in my tank, though. To clean the larvae first I pour them through a fine mesh shrimp net, gets out most of the dirt. Then dump the trapped larvae into a small container of tank water. Let the remaining specks of dirt settle. Siphon out the larvae into another jar of clean water. Siphon back out of that jar individual specks of dirt that still get through. Then I hope it's pretty clean, or at least diluted enough. Doesn't take long to do.

Adult serpaes absolutely love to eat these little wiggly things. First time I gave one to Samblu he didn't seem to see it. Kept looking up to the circle of his feeding ring, wondering where the offering was, as the larva jerked down to hide among the plants. I watched but didn't see it come up again. So I don't know if Sam ever ate it. Later I offered him some when the tank light was on- he immediately snapped them up. Ate six. Ooh, he liked it when they wiggled around!

I really like this form of pest control! First time I did not realize that the roundish jerking things in same puddle were the mosquito pupae, which is the last stage just before they emerge as adults. I didn't collect them then, because I thought they were some other insect, and some are not good to introduce to your tank. When I knew what they were I make sure to get all of those from the puddle. I collect every other day, or every three days now. I must be doing a decent job of catching all the grown larvae before they hit the next stage, because last few times I didn't see any pupae at all.

I'm still unable to recognize the egg rafts, though. A fellow fish keeper gave me a tip: if I put the eggs in the fry box, when the larvae hatch out too small to see, the baby fish can eat them. But when I peer at the surface of the puddle, I don't see anything that looks like a raft of eggs. However today for the third time I collected from my jar the tiniest larvae (can barely see them at all) turned off the filter (so they wouldn't get sucked out of the fry box right away- they are tiny enough to go through that mesh) and dipped them into the water, then sat and strained my eyes for the longest time. I wanted to actually see the baby fish eat a mosquito larva, to know if it was worth the effort to gather up these tiniest ones- or if they were still too big for his mouth. Finally I saw the fry eat one. That was satisfying. I know I have good food for it now.

tenner update

Today I deep-cleaned the second half of substrate in my betta tank. First time around I had only cleaned the left side, avoiding doing all at once for how much ammonia that would create. The job went a bit easier this time- I still had to siphon out over 20 gallons of water to get it clean enough, then did two nearly-nintey-percent water changes to remove ammonia- in all refilling the tank three times. Samblu is in the temporary bin again. With a proper sponge filter this time that I squeezed in some of the dirty water- so that he will have the good bacteria to keep the bin parameters relatively steady. It all seems to have gone smoothly. Afterwards the tank only has 0.5ppm ammonia, and the bin itself 0.25. That's better than last time. So I think Sam might be above to move back into his home tomorrow, or the day after.

The tank looks the same as before; I didn't really rescape just put plants and harscape back where it was. Tuft of algae on java fern leaf tip is staghorn. It's the same gray fuzzy stuff was on the driftwood I took out. Typically shows up in tanks with low c02 and high ammonia, no surprise there. I hope my tank will stay in better condition, now. Would like to introduce a few trumpet snails again, but not sure if they will survive. I'm wonder if they simply starved- as there is no algae, and Sam eats every bite I give him, what is left for the snails. I had never thought to actually feed them....

16 July 2017

full herbs

Basil is nice, now. Surprisingly I haven't started eating any of it yet! I have cherry tomatoes, too.
This is that end of the herb garden bed that I cut back last month. All filled in again already.

15 July 2017

from friday

Main tank nothing exceptional this week, except that my Amano shrimp have molted again- they look huge! Because one serpae tetra with bitten fins had what looked like a bit of white fungus on the torn dorsal, I have been doing small partial wc, daily. The fishes loved it (and the suspected fungus spot disappeared by thur- now it looks like healthy clear fin growing back). Some of the plants didn't. Hornwort has converted to short, denser needles again. Crypts are dropping some leaves. My serpaes are so quick and enthusiastic to eat the mosquito larvae I gather for them, there is none left at all to fall to the bottom. I'd feel bad for the kuhlis, but I know when I feed aphids it will be their turn to gorge.

Subwassertang is one plant happy enough with the lower nutrients; its grown up so much starting to lift off the basket mesh surface. Time for a serious trim. There will be plenty to give to the baby serpae in the window tank, so it can feed off the aufwuchs.

14 July 2017

coneflowers plus

Echinacea in full bloom. There's five or six flowers per plant, and I'm really hoping to fill this area of the back bed in with more. If I do a full tray of seedlings and end up with just half a dozen to make it through their fist winter each year- well, eventually it will look like what I envision.
Astilbe (done blooming) and daisies in the background.
Rudbeckia (black-eyed susan) next to the echinacea is flowering now, too- didn't get a focused picture though.

fry update

Turns out my baby fish is older than I'd thought- it must have been a week already on tuesday. So I don't need to feed it three, four times a day and it doesn't need infusoria or egg yolk, it's already big enough to take pulverized food. I was pretty glad to ditch the egg and dump the jars of infusoria I'd tried to start (only the potato one was starting to go cloudy with life). I'm feeding it two or three times a day now, I see it picking at microorganisms pretty regularly and as long as the tummy stays round I think it's okay. Even in just a few days it is getting easier to see.

I upended all my fish food containers onto a sheet of paper (separately) and dumped all the powder residue into an empty container (poor quality flake I had thrown out a while ago but kept the can). Mixed all the powders together, I figure then the fry will get variety with each feeding. I'm told to feed it very sparingly as one fry won't eat much, so I cut the end off a toothpick to make it blunt, get it damp and dip just the tip in the food powder. Then into the water. It seems to be enough, yet even that little bit attracts the grown fish- yesterday two cories and Fabio were mouthing the bottom of the mesh box.

Snails are attracted too, they climb the sides of the fry box. (Maybe they are after the decaying hornwort needles that get trapped between the box edge and tank rim- I gently moved the box the other day to clean that area out). I have put a few more snails inside to help with cleanup- now I siphon out their poo more than food residue, but I think that's less toxic for the fry. (The baby fish is dwarfed by an adult trumpet snail- it's less than half the size!)

When I feed the fry in evening the room is too dim to actually see it. I put a little flashlight on the tank lid over the mesh box, so I can see if it is eating. Seems to attract it to the food area too.

I'm still doing small daily water changes, for the sake of my baby fish, as the nitrates are higher than I'd like- not sure why. Hornwort is struggling to adjust, dropping tons of lower needles and altering its top growth. Looks terrible- but I know it will recover or be replaced easily with more trimmings. None of the other plants visibly affected- I bet it's because the hornwort is such a fast grower, an 'indicator plant'. I think the regular wcs have depleted nutrients for it, but then its dying foliage pollutes the tank.

13 July 2017

baby fish!!

So the seven serpae tetras I have now all look healthy. I asked on the forum because concerned the symptoms I kept seeing when loosing fish before, could have been columnaris? I've heard that if you get this disease in your tank, resident fish can build up immunity but any newcomers will fall ill to it. But the one reply I got told me that if I had a disease in my tank, the other fish especially the oto would get it. So it must be that I keep getting sick fish. Done with buying fish from the box chain stores... Sadly the good lfs in next town has never had regular serpae tetras when I visit. They have a full tank of long-fin ones, which look lovely, but not exactly what I want...
But... maybe I can raise my own? Surprise chance!

Every Friday trimmings of hornwort and elodea go from the main tank into my window tank. Earlier this week I found a tiny baby fish just above the substrate! I'm pretty sure it's a serpae tetra that hatched from an egg stuck to those trimmings. This time I caught it and put it in a mesh breeder box hung inside the tank. Put all the hornwort and elodea floater stems in there, three stones with subwassertang on them, and loose subwassertang from a planter outside that was a tentative idea for a little container pond. (It's only been out there a week, I had just thrown some extra hornwort, subwasser and duckweed in it, thinking of getting some water lettuce and one very small fish... never did anything yet). But figured the plants from that planter might have more microscopic things on it for a baby fish to eat. I have seen it picking at the subwasser a bit.
It's so tiny. It really strains my eyes to see it- I get a headache, actually. Its entire body is smaller than one elodea leaf. I can barely make out the tail and dorsal fin when it's backlit. Mostly I can see it from the pair of dark dots that are the eyes jerking around. I can't actually see the mouth, but I can see the motion when it bites at something (which is kind of weird). It is very transparent. I thought it was about a week old- read that the fry are slivers attached to glass or substrate until they are free-swimming at five days after absorbing their yolk sack- but an experienced forum member told me tetra fry are so microscopic they don't even look like fish until they are four weeks old... and this one definitely has a fish shape.

I'm feeding it egg yolk, since of course I don't have infusoria or green water or newly hatched brine shrimp or any of that microscopic stuff you're supposed to have ready to feed very young fry right away. Got the idea from the forum. Put a bit of boiled yolk (smaller than a pea) into thin, old bandanna and twisted it into a little tight lump. Held with one of those little hair bands. Lowered that into the water and when the fry came near, squeezed it with the tip of planting tweezers. A cloud of yellow came thru into the water I could see the fry biting at bits too small for my eyes. I saw its belly get nice and plump. Then it seemed to loose interest so I gently siphoned out the remainder in a straw and gave it to the adult serpae tetras in the main tank. I kind of thought those bigger fish wouldn't be interested in such tiny bites, but they swarmed all over dashing after those yellow bits. I don't think I'll do that again, though. Egg yolk is too fatty for adult fish.

From more reading, I have to feed it three or four times a day for the first two weeks, or it will starve. Must have high-protein food (so not sure if green water from mashed pea would be ok, probably not enough nutrients). Really the best thing is infusoria- I've tried to start some. Put tank water in a jar with a few drops of plant food and dead leaves from my main tank, out in the sun. Also in the house I stated four jars with tank water and each has a different food for the culture: banana peel, crushed lettuce leaf, grass, bit of potato. With screen over it to keep out bugs. Maybe I can keep the fry going on egg yolk for a week and then I might have some actual infusoria for it. After that it can transition to microworms, after another week or two of that, can start eating powdered prepared foods (dust from the bottom of my flake and pellet cans). I found someone who can give me microworms day after tomorrow (guy from the new local fish club), so maybe I can have a supply of that ready when the fry is big enough to eat it...

I've finally figured out how to recognize mosquito larvae in a puddle that forms on a tarp under my deck- I collected some today and fed them to my adult serpaes- they went nuts for it. Some of those larvae were so small, like tiny clear threads. Wonder if I could feed those to the fry when it is a bit bigger? or some newly-hatched red wigglers from my worm bin? I hope between all those things I have enough to keep it alive until I can release it back in the tank, or feed it powdered commercial foods which is easier. I don't mind the little challenge. At least, so far.

I'm told on the forum that trying to feed it in the mesh container will just pollute the area it's in- any tiny drop of food I put in will be too much for one fry to consume- I'd hoped that siphoning out the bottom of the container, adding a snail or two to eat leftovers and doing small partial wc on the tank daily would keep the environment clean enough, but maybe not. One of my cories swims upside down mouthing the underside of the mesh box when I feed the fry- I wonder if he's actually getting any food thru there.

If I didn't have Fabio in here I'd put mesh or sponge over the filter intake and just let it grow up in the tank. Already this feels like a lot of work for one tiny fish (my kids are super excited about it though).

back garden

A week or so ago echinacea started to flower. The white daisies have been going for longer, and astilbe is fading.
Liriope looks great
Butternut squash is doing better than I had expected. Watermelon hanging on, rhubarb not looking so great but alive. All the okra still growing, but not really thriving or getting huge like I'd hoped.

12 July 2017

sweet pea blooms

My sweet peas are flowering! For several weeks already now.
So pretty, although I don't notice the lovely scent I remember from my childhood.
Perhaps that was a different variety.
I like the way they peek over the retaining wall- next year (if they come back) hope to train them to do so better (most are still flopping all over the place).
They're up against my neighbor's little garden. Attracting lots of bees.
I also kind of like how some of them wind up through the stiff gladiola foliage (which is in gorgeous bloom right now, need to get a picture of that, too!) although it looks like some of the sweet pea vines have smothered a few gladiola on one end.


I don't know why this african violet that looks terrible, is blooming nonstop-
While the other one with nice foliage, has never yet flowered for me.

small changes

on my window tank last week. This one also had higher nitrates than I expected, especially since I don't dose ferts in here. It was 30ppm so I did a 50% wc. Thinking why is it higher. Because I removed a large amount of hornwort earlier in the week? Too much fish load? Overfeeding...?
I moved the filter to sit near a corner and flow goes across the width of the tank now, not from short end across the entire length. It keeps the floating plants from piling into a corner so much with the current.
Here's a picture of the few bucephalandra I moved in here to try.
Saw a small green leaf near this bunch of hornwort- its on bottom left of the rocks that hold the stems down- at first I thought it was a small java fern leaf,  but I don't have java fern right there. I looked closer- it's that bit of of cryptocoryne rhizome sprouting!
Baby windelov ferns I fastened onto stones are all growing bigger. They seem to do better tied down with the small hair bands- some of the ones with glue come loose.
In fact a whole tiny sheet of the superglue detached with all its baby ferns, and drifted to rest against the base of the hornwort stems. I just left it there.
Bonus pic of my blue ramshorn snail on the tank seam.

11 July 2017


 My Tithonus plants are getting quite a bit bigger,
but show no signs of flowering yet.


All is not lost- my ginger sprouted again! I had set the pot down under the deck and forgotten about it, until I saw some little green shoots come up. Late in the season- but still. It's alive! picture from a week ago-
and now


My stevia plant seems to have recovered, although it still doesn't look perfectly healthy. Enough that I am using it again.


The three or four of the smallest tetras always have a ragged fin edge or two; usually they heal and grow back fine. In fact, only one serpae in the tank has fins in perfect condition- the second-largest of my fish, I bet it is the dominant one and simply doesn't get nipped by anyone else. I saw one day that one  of the smaller ones had a white blob on edge of dorsal fin where it's uneven. This might be a bit of fungus infection starting. At the same time, noticed there's a slight film on water surface, I wondered if I'd been overdoing it feeding them live foods. Checked the water quality, nitrates were normal at 20ppm, but I went ahead and did a small partial wc anyway. Since I wanted to remove some of that surface film, I was scooping water out with a cup, making a strong backflow to gather some leaf debris that was floating, too.
And I caught this in the cup. A spider! In my tank! What, how? Looks like a hunting spider of some kind- I let it go in the garden. There's not much of a gap in my tank lid- maybe 1/8" around the filter pipes. That spider must have been seeking water, and found more than he'd expected! Glad I got it out, wondering if it was the cause of the film, hope there aren't anymore crazy arachnids in my tank (remember the slug?)

09 July 2017

one down

Of my three new tetras. It happened while Samblu was in the bin while his tank recovered its cycle. I noticed one day a tetra seemed to have white on its mouth, but it was hard to see it well. Next day saw that it definitely looked like it had fungus or some disease- mouth and top of the head all white, it was hanging near the top of the tank breathing hard. I hurriedly set up a five-gallon tote with sponge filter half tank water, half new but when I went back to catch the fish (which was far too easy) it looked really bad. Parts of the eyes had white film over them and they bugged out, under the gills inflamed red, struggling for equilibrium and rolling upside down. I caught it gently as I could and moved into the emergency hospital bin, but it couldn't right itself and died right there. I hate seeing fish die. It seemed to happen so fast. Buried under the forsythia.

Keeping an eye on the others- smallest one has kind of ragged fins, it probably gets picked on a bit. Surprisingly they seem more confident, even with numbers down to seven again (maybe once again, the sick fish had made the others feel uneasy). Next morning when I walked by the tank, six of them were right out front, didn't even wait for the signal of me lifting the lid or tapping. I wanted to give them some fresh greens but all the lettuce and dandelions are bitter now. So I blanched and minced up a bit of celery leaf. Surprised how well they all liked it. Kuhlis, cories and Fabio in the window tank, all ate. It was hilarious to see the shrimps grab pieces of celery and walk off with it, I saw an Amano holding one piece while eating another.

A bit surprised that nitrates were still higher in the tank on cleaning day, at 40ppm. Plants look good though. Is it because I took out so much hornwort and the watersprite last week? Because a fish was ill, or have I lost a snail. I can only see two of my three nerites.

08 July 2017


Look at this. Tiny seedling I thought was a cosmos, turns out it is a baby evergreen. One of the seeds collected off a shrub in my mother's yard seven years ago sprouted. I just don't know if it is an ornamental cedar or a cypress. Maybe I can get it to grow big enough to find out.

07 July 2017


So I went ahead with it. Deep-cleaned the substrate with gravel vac and did a bit of rescape on the left side, where I removed the driftwood. It was nasty.  Clouds and clouds of black mulm came out, the substrate had an ugly grey look, and I found guess what, tons of broken bits of trumpet snail shells. So yeah, they are all dead. Good news is my sun thorn nerite showed up again, and it's alive. I saved the buces off the driftwood, they're now planted in the substrate. Also the small baby anubias barteri is now on a stone- the original rhizome piece it had grown from rotted away to mush.  Fissidens a loss- all brown and black with algae I couldn't save it. Underside of the wood had thick areas of white fungus and strings of black mold, ugh. Probably from the dead snails...

I had to refill the tank twice and siphon out to get it clean enough, and then did two or three fifty percent wc. Ammonia spiked to 2ppm. After the extra wcs still too high. Samblu and the nerite snail spent the day in one of my plastic fish bins, with a handful of substrate (rinsed well in tank water) the sponge filter running and the java fern skull cave to hide under. After cleaning half the gravel bed in the tank, I put the skull piece back in to figure out where to replant everything, and the filter too, to help clear the water column. So dropped a fake plant into the bin to give the betta some shelter meanwhile, and he had all the spirodela polyrhiza floaters on top, too. He didn't seem too stressed, ate a small katydid and two leafhoppers I caught outside (the yard plants got lots of fish water that day!)

But at nightfall I tested water parameters again- the tank very lean on nitrates (less than 5ppm) but still high ammonia. The bin had 0.5 ammonia so I decided to leave Samblu in there overnight, where he is getting less poison. Worried a bit because no circulation or heater but it is very warm here at least 74 maybe 75 degrees in the upstairs of our house (trying to conserve ac use) I get sweaty if I sleep with a sheet on! And I remind myself that after all, I did keep my first two betas in bowls for a year, and Sam has the bacteria on the ceiling and floor of his temporary digs to help keep ammonia in check. I refrained from feeding him again. He looked fine in the morning. Next day both the tank and the bin had 0.25 ammonia. I kept Sam out and put the nerite back in. Figured if the bacteria colony could deal with the output of the snail, it was done with the mini-cycle. Third day the tank was below 0.25 ammonia and the bin higher at 0.25 so I did a small water change on the tank, redosed the ferts for the plants put the fish back in and now I won't touch it for a week again.

tetra behavior

So far, so good. One of the new tetras has white on the lip it's a blister looking thing, I've seen them have this before and it goes away. Normal response to my opening the lid and tap-tap has been for two or three of the boldest fish to come out to see, the rest follow slowly and the oldest one Scrappy stays back in the plants until almost all the food is eaten. So I was happily surprised to see, the first morning after the new trio put in the tank, that when I approached to feed, all eight fish came up front right away. They really do feel secure with greater numbers.

Almost every morning there is chasing, flirting and spawning going on after I feed them. It's different from how my cherry barbs were- the males would beg and pester and coax the females with their flipping pectoral fins. With the serpaes I've noticed it's the plumper females that seem to initiate mating- she will swim ahead of the other fish, quivering her entire body madly and flipping the pectorals in that begging gesture, circling around up behind and to the front to shake and entice again- then leading the male into the plant thicket to spawn. I just read an article about this species that confirms that yes, the female is the one who quivers in front of the male when she is ready. Curious the gesture reminds me of how birds beg- the female to her mate, or the fledgling on a branch, with those quick little shaking gestures of the wing.

06 July 2017

new fish!

I stopped by the local pet store and what do you know, the tanks all looked clean and the fishes healthy. They had new peppered cories and a large group of serape tetras. So I got some. Two pepper cories for my window tank, and three serape tetras to add to my school in the main.
The two new cories are bigger than my original three- one large enough I think it might be full-grown. I have blocked the sides of the tank with hand towels to keep it nice and dark for low stress for a day, and fed a pinch of flake right when letting the new fishes go out of the net into the tank. Nobody had clamped fins or went pale, they all started scouting around busy on the bottom for food.
Serpaes also look good. I wanted particular ones out of the store tank, because many in there had torn fins, dorsals half ripped off, color washed out from stress. I could tell the employee (she said she was new) was really doubtful about catching the particular individual fish I wanted out of a darting, frantic school of twenty, so I very nicely asked if I could catch them myself, and she was relieved to let me! With some patience I got the trio I'd had my eye on, pleased.
They also didn't seem stressed while floating in the bag, just eager to get into the tank with the other serpaes who came over to check them out. When released into the tank dashed around getting acquainted with the resident school while the kuhlis below scrambled around after the food I'd dropped in.
I also got a blue ramshorn snail. I know I didn't like baby ramshorns all over my tenner, but this one I plan to put in the main. However first it went into the window tank, so I can observe and see if it lays eggs. I figure egg packets or baby snails will be easier to pick out of there, since the planting isn't dense.

I'd never seen a blue one in person before; I think it's really striking.