Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Cleaning - The Tropical Fish (and Newt) Aquarium

Maybe it was the sun shining brightly today or the somewhat warmer temperatures than the last few miserable rainy days but whatever it was it bit me and got me itching to clean my big aquarium. Now it may not be big by your standards, it is only about 35 to 40 gallons but it is certainly a lot bigger than any of the other three I currently am keeping. I have two 10 gallon tanks, one 20 gallon and the big one set up right now.

I started the chore of cleaning it and I do mean a complete cleaning hours ago. I drained about 2/3 of the water. Then I caught the fish with a net. (By the way this is last time I will use a mesh net on my Pictus Catsfish, I had to cut off one pectoral fin tip to free the fish and the other side's fin now wears a bit of nylon mesh as I also had to cut the net; and I should have known better but did not think of it at the time I netted the first one. I got the other one with a cup.) I put all the fish into a 5 gallon bucket with the water they had been in and I aerated it while I worked. Then I took out the rest of the water and the gravel. I cleaned the gravel. Luckily my son was home, because I had Brendan give me a hand getting the tank outside where I scrubbed it out and rinsed it with the garden hose. Then back inside and back on its stand. I then cleaned all the tank accessories and filters. Once that was done I put the gravel back into the tank, set up some driftwood (natural and artificial), replanted the Amazon Sword Plant, put in fresh water, and then dumped in the fish and the Iberian Ribbed Newt and 2 snails. Except for the one Pictus Catfish wearing a bit of mesh on one fin and missing the tip of another, all look none the worse for the wear. The only real loss today were two guppies I missed that wound up going down the drain with water I had siphoned out of the tank and the tank heater. The heater will be an expensive loss, probably $40 or so. I forgot to unplug it, shame on me, and it cracked when I drained the water. Oh well, such is older middle age, the brain farts a lot and shit happens.

Right now, there are about 20 or 30 guppies in the tank along with 2 Pictus Cats, 2 Kribensis, 2 rams, 1 Cardinal (I just cannot find them healthy at any nearby pet shops or would have more), 5 Corydoras paleatus Catfish, 2 snails and 1 Iberian Ribbed Newt. With any luck, with the water change, cooler temp of the water I added today (I cooled it by about 5 degrees) and some good feeding lately of high protein foods, the paleatus cats will breed. That would be a big bonus for the job of the tank clean up. I have some Green Aeneus cats (Corydoras aeneus) in another tank and they breed repeatedly whenever I do a water change with cooler water but the paleatus cats are more picky as to when they breed. Hopefully all this will trigger them. As for my green aeneus cats, while they breed like rabbits or better, none of the eggs are ever fertile. I am almost positive I have 2 males and 2 females too. Of well, food for the guppies that share their tank and for the blue tailed newts too I suppose. If the paleatus cats breed, I am hopeful I can gets the eggs out or covered before they are all eaten by tank-mates. The one time before that these fish bred for me the eggs were fertile but got eaten before I had a chance to save them. I should know in a day or two if I gave them the desired conditions to trigger their breeding. Keeping my fins crossed til then.

All the best,
Glenn B