Tank Chat: New denizens

The ich parasites have been routed as have the Camallanus worms which arrived shortly after. Now my community tank has been clean for a month after two rounds of medication and I’m finally restocking.

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Please, ignore the glowing shell…

First thing I did was clean out my local fish store of albino corys, just to give the lone cory company to play with. All five of them (yeah, not that many) are now skimming across the sand and basically shaking up their tankmates (corys are active buggers). The cardinals are still shy, though the two remaining rice fish are up top and begging for food (I fed you guys twice already!).
I’m also in the process of adding more sand to the tank. Petsmart has this fantastic black sand that weighs just enough not to swirl up in the current. It can only be added a little at a time though, since, against all its official claims, it does raise the pH levels in the tank. Quite a lot. So a bit at a time gives the driftwood time to boost the low acidity*. Eventually, the sand grains neutralize (not sure if it’s because of biofilm or the surface acclimates) and they stop releasing base elements. In the picture, you can see the difference between the old sand and the new (and the air trapped by the fresh sand). For now, I’ve only put in a quarter cup of sand. I’ll probably wait another week before dropping in another helping (this is gonna take a while…)

*Erm… maybe I should explain that? Raising the pH levels (numerically) is a little confusing because high acidity is on the low end of the scale. The high levels of pH is base not acidic. Driftwood and other plant matter adds acidity to water, trace amounts when its been there for a while. Rocks, shells, and gravel add base elements to the water.
Maybe it’s just me, but I instinctively think high acidity means high readings, which is silly because both extremes burn skin on contact.

Hopefully, the pH will not go crazy, because I’ve just added my mellow betta to the tank.

Bento is a harmless little guy who has issues with his swim bladder. Fortunately, he’s always floating to the top, thus eating isn’t a problem. I’m hoping that the larger body of water with an established cycle will “cure” his bladder so he’ll be able to swim properly (there’s a reason why he’s named “Bent-o”). He’s been by himself for months now, and no change since the end of September when it started. This is kind of my last-ditch hope. Not that I’ll ditch him in any way, but I’m resigned to seeing him struggle.

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Meet Mayuri, the freckled blue betta.

Speaking of bettas, I bought a house for Blue (nicknamed as such because “Kurotsuchi Mayuri” is too much of a mouthful–sue me, I’ve got a headcanon that Mayuri has freckles). So far, the new playground, admittedly massive and barely fitting, has been a solid hit. Blue’s having a blast flitting through gaps, testing out perches, and resting in tiny nooks. He’s not a shy fish, so I’m not afraid of never seeing him, but he does seem to enjoy the dark corners.

Steve–the betta in the next bowl–is full of jealousy, but he’s just going to have to settle for his open five-pillar house. “Tatter-Tail” ought to be Steve’s nickname; the guy still can’t keep a whole tail to save his life. As if I’m giving him any snags to play around.

In other news, I have a small group of shrimp that has promptly multiplied–What’s the term for it? Family? Colony? Herd? I started with five shrimp, but then two females started carrying eggs… and now I’ve got roughly two dozen tiny red baby shrimp. I may have to move them all when they get bigger, since now they are in a small 2.5 gallon. imag3092

I’m just glad that they don’t need much food. Sure, they eat constantly, but most of what they need is biofilm, which is pretty self-sustaining. Drop in a slow-release tablet of food, and they are happy.

Surprisingly, they don’t eat all the algae in the tank. I’ve had to scrub down the sides a few times because I kept thinking they would eat the green stuff… but nope. Apparently, if I want real hard workers, I’ll have to throw in a pair of Amano shrimp. I know for sure those will keep the tank clear (Or maybe a snail. Hmm…). To give them credit, whenever I toss in a small plant from another tank, the shrimp swarm it and chow down on the slime that grows on the roots. So at least they are easy to please.

After all the adjustments and shuffling, I now have a small 6 gallon tank in the corner that stands empty. I have installed a new filter and it’s in the process of cycling all over again (it was Bento’s former spot). After a few weeks, I may transfer the shrimp in or the rice fish… or maybe new fish? I’ve got time to consider my options anyway. It could just be a quarantine tank… because that would have been useful half a year ago before Snooki brought the ich. Or the rams brought the worms. (I really hope the corys are parasite free, because I never learn).

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