The post-holiday aftermath

420 litre: after the holiday

The fish were still doing well after the holiday, and looking healthy. My friend Bev did water changes three times in three weeks, averaging out once per week or so.

Before leaving, I made up one pack of food per day. Going by how many packs were left when I came back, the fish were fed every 2 days out of 3.

A head count showed that there had been no deaths and the general health of the fish was great. The bristlenose plecos had spawned and there are young all over the tank, the majority on the filter outlet or the glass near it. The new Hagen pump was quite clearly not strong enough to suck them in.

Water readings are fine, except a 25 ppm increase in nitrates. I am slowly resuming the water changes on a daily basis.

There was some hair algae in the plants which floated to the surface, which is a pain, but nothing can be done about it.

Equipment was functioning well, same as when I left it.

Holidays and fish

Today, I am leaving for a three week holiday to the US.. which means, the fish are to fend for themselves.

Actually, it’s not quite as bad as that: I have prepared zip-lock bags of food (one per day), instructed the neighbours on how to check the equipment and left them contact details for a fellow fishkeeper, in case anything looks wrong.

The idea is simple: every day, the kids come over and (while being supervised by the parents) feed one bag of food to the fish per day. At worst, the fish are getting fed the right amount of food and the equipment gets checked for malfunctions; at best, the child from a pet-free home learns about the basic responsibility of keeping pets.

Then, once per week, a fellow fishkeeper will come to do a 5% water change and check on the general welfare of the animals.

And just for the fun of it, I am also setting up a webcam, so that I may be able to check up on the fish myself.

More spawns

The harlequin rasboras are spawning for the first time and the blue rams are almost ready to join them.

The rasboras chose some floating Hygrophyla polysperma as their spawning site; two males taking turns with the oldest female. I do not expect any young to survive, but it would be nice if they do. I have seen the rasboras deposit around 10-15 eggs so far.

Fighting plecos

Plecos are not often known for their aggression, but the fact is, males will sometimes fight and not just for show. Today, I came home to find the beta male with his tail and a large number of scales missing.

The two males really do have more than enough territory space, with a 150 cm of bottom space to chose from, so I imagine they decided to go for the same cave, out of the three which are available. No sign of infection, but treating with eSHa 2000, just in case.

New pump

I recently bought the tiny Koralia Nano by Hydor, to improve circulation. It is a compact, 900 litre per hour pump, which at 4.5 W beats any filter of the same flow rate, in terms of running costs. Another benefit over a single outlet is that this pump is designed to shift water, instead of creating a solid flow, which means that it is suitable for use with fish which prefer to have a lower flow rate.

In essence, the pump will not suck in fry as much as any standard filter will and the fish do not struggle when swimming around it.

The pump is easy to set up, the most difficult part being attaching the pump to the magnet/suction cup. The only downside being that the power chord is too short, if the top of your aquarium happens to be about 150 cm off the ground and your power sockets are at floor level.