Stop for just second and think about yourself as a fishkeeper. I’m going to assume if you’re reading this, that you keep fish, specifically cichlids. I want you to think about what that means. No, seriously, stop and think about your responsibility.
I took some time yesterday to go back through the blog and look at a few older posts. If you’ve searched and read any content from before November 2017, you may have noticed some strange formatting, numbers appearing where they shouldn’t, etc.
Have you ever had an external canister filter that leaked, specifically where the pump-head connects to the canister body? Most of the time, that’s a seal issue. And most of the time it’s because a seal has gone bad (i.e., the gasket has failed).
Because I now have nearly 400 posts, there is a ton of content here. If you’re a regular reader or even if you’re new, I encourage you to use the search tool to check out the blog. The search works pretty well, so give it a try. You might just find something useful or interesting.
No, I’m not adding any more tanks. However, the new stand I just built will only accommodate two 20g long tanks. I have three up and running. The just finished stand holds one tank (at the moment), and I have a store bought metal stand currently holding the other two.
The metal stand works great but it’s too low, specifically the shelf for the bottom tank, which is just inches off the ground. It’s impossible to gravity drain that tank. I do use a python hose, but not to regularly vacuum/drain my tanks. See this post on what I normally use to clean/drain my tanks. I don’t like wasting water, which is what the Python does when running the faucet to create suction. For tanks that are higher than my utility sink, I will sometimes use the Python just as a drain. If you don’t have good water pressure, the Python doesn’t work as well as a substrate vacuum. It doesn’t work at all if you’re relying just on gravity, and the tank you’re draining is lower than the drain end of the Python hose.
As of yesterday, I had four tanks (75g, 2x 20g long, and a 30g square) that contained aragonite sand substrates. Suffice it to say that I’m not happy with any of them. I have two other tanks that contain pool (silica) sand (75g and 55g).
Over time, I have honestly felt like my fish are more active and look better in the pool sand tanks. The tanks with aragonite are relatively new (~8 months) and I have had more fish problems with them than with pool sand tanks. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Maybe it isn’t.
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be labeled an expert at something? People with terminal academic degrees (e.g., PhD) are typically viewed as experts on their particular subject. On the other hand, people with little to no education who have years of experience working in or on something are also considered experts. What about cichlid keepers?
In 2017, I posted about alloparental care in cooperative breeding cichlids. In that post, I pointed to an article about such behavior in Perissodus microlepis, a small, rather non-descript cichlid species found in Lake Tanganyika. That particular study didn’t use a ‘direct observation’ method, but rather relied solely on a genetic parenting analysis. Studying cichlids in their natural habitat using observation, rather than observing them inside a controlled environment like an aquarium, allows researchers to partially eliminate effects of confinement on their observation results.
Just like many other fish, some cichlids are predators. In fact, many will happily dine on their own kind, even relatives. That is just part of nature. But sometimes lunch becomes fatal. Case in point, this juvenile Telmatochromis sp. “temporalis shell” attempted to eat a sibling. It didn’t go well.
I have a breeding pair of “temporalis shell” in a 20g long, which have spawned two or three times. I leave all the fry and juveniles in the tank until they’re large enough to take to my LFS. So naturally, multiple broods coexisting in the same tank will occasionally lead to encounters like this one, especially with opportunistic omnivores like these Telmats.
The juvenile in the photo above is only about an inch long. I didn’t attempt to extract the fry, but you can tell it was significantly smaller….just not small enough.