Saturday, April 9, 2011

Corydoras aeneus, aka: Green Aeneus or Green Corys

I have had numerous Guppies and four Corydoras aeneus swimming around in a 10 gallon aquarium that was primarily set up for my six Blue Tailed Newts. I had been hoping to breed the newts but to date I have not had any success in getting them to spawn. There has got to be a trigger but I have not figured it out. On the other hand, the Guppies breed like...well, like guppies and they keep doing it. The green Corys also bred frequently. I usually do a weekly water change and they usually breed right after that but not weekly. I'd say they have bred about every 3rd week on average. I think I have two males and two females. I used to have one other but it died for some unknown reason.

I have had this tank set up this way for about 2 years, or so I am guessing. About 6 months ago, I added something it did not have, an under-gravel filter. I know that many frown on these nowadays but I like them because they make the tank easier to maintain in my opinion. I remove the upright air tube and then insert a siphon hose and siphon the water from under the gravel when I do weekly tank maintenance. Today though was time to strip the tank down and give it, the gravel and all the accessories a thorough good cleaning. I do that about twice a year with my small tanks. Once I siphoned out most of the water, I scooped out most of the gravel, then lifted out the under gravel filters. Much to my surprise there were several fish under the filters. Even more to my surprise was the fact that about 6 of them were Green Aeneus catfish! The rest were either guppies and maybe one or two very tiny baby catfish. Most surprising of all was that one of the green cory, that I found under the filters, was about 1/3 to 1/2 grown.

I had always figured that my Corydoras aeneus were sterile since none of the eggs they laid ever seemed to hatch. What was happening though seemed to be that the larger guppies of those in the tank were eating them, or at least eating part of each egg almost as soon as each was laid and the remains stayed stuck to the glass. The cory's stick the eggs to the side of the aquarium glass, usually right in the stream of water coming from the power filter. I had mistakenly believed that the eggs were always bad but now see that was not the case. My guess is that when the guppies pecked away at the eggs, some good ones fell to the gravel and were sucked through the under-gravel filters where they hatched and where the babies, at least some of them apparently found enough to eat. I am truly amazed they could live under the filters as the water I siphon from under them when cleaning the tank is always dark brown to almost black. That is a result of anything organic that gets sucked under the filters and then decomposes there.

Well they lived and I now have about a half dozen of them swimming around in the tank. I removed all the guppies except some very tiny babies and am waiting to see what happens next time the catfish breed. Hopefully all the eggs will be fertile and I will get to see them develop and hatch.

All the best,
Glenn B

Today In History - A Beginning To The End of Bloodshed on American Soil

On April 9, a war weary commanding general of American forces said the following:

"It would be useless and therefore cruel to provoke the further effusion of blood, and I have arranged to meet with General Grant with a view to surrender."

The yar was 1865, the American general was Robert E. Lee and he would soon surrender to another war weary American general - Ulysses S. Grant. They would meet that morning in Appomattox Court House, Virginia. No not inside a court house, but within the home of Wilmer McLean. Appomattox Court House was the name of the village where that home was located. The "effusion of blood" to which Lee sought to put an end was that of the American soldiers who had fought valiantly against one another during the Civil War, the bloodiest war of our Nation's history. It is estimated by some that there were up to 700,000 human deaths during that war although the more readily accepted number is approximately 620,000. That is more war dead than our nation suffered in all the wars from the Revolution up through and including Vietnam.

My sentiments about the Civil War, its causes, its battles, its end, its aftermath are many but there is one thought about it all, the last line of a book, the story of a southern woman who lived though it, that I believe I share:

"But for us - for Dan and me we could almost as easily give up each other as those terrible, beloved days. They are the very fiber of us." (1)

Those days she mentioned were the days of the Civil War. Yes, in truth, the Civil War has become, in part, the very fiber of our nation, as today we stand one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. In that same book, just above the last lines, the lady's granddaughter was quoted as saying:

"How thankful I am that 'Old Glory' floats alike over North and South, now!"

So too am I. So, today I have taken a few moments to bow my head to pay homage to they who gave their all in the war between the North and the South; we owe them a lot for the shaping of our nation. And, as was the young lass quoted above, I am thankful I did not have to live through it myself and am hopeful it will never come to such again.

All the best,
Glenn B

1. A Virginia Girl in the Civil War, 1861-1865: Being a Record of the Actual Experiences of the Wife of a Confederate Officer: Ed. by Myrta Lockett Avary. Page 384. Electronic Edition,