Photo shows one of the other males which wandered too close to the breeding pair: he tried to have a closer look at the eggs, and the pair were not having any of it.
So, the ram pair which I separated off have spawned again, only 11 days after the previous spawn and 9 days since the eggs disappeared (I don’t think they appreciated being moved). I was actually planning on giving them a cool water change with blackwater on day 14, to see if that would trigger them.
I have been feeding the pair on a little bit of high-protein live food diet, once every other day. They also have plenty of vegetation to nibble on, if they get peckish. The aquarium itself has lots of muml on the bottom a quite a few species of tiny crustaceans in all the plants. I’m running it filter free (using the pump of one as a powerhead) as the plants use up any ammonia (and provide a home for the bacteria) which the two fish can produce… not something beginners should consider, but works well for low-stock, plant-heavy aquaria.
Oh, and I’m getting a delivery of new plants tomorrow! It’s an odd job mix from another hobbyist, but I hope I can get some Asian species which I want for the new 60 litre.
The “second” pair (as in, the second strongest and the second pair to pair up) spawned on the Amazon sword today, I was planning to move them to a breeding aquarium because the snails give the fry no chance of survival in the display. Since they beat me to it, I ended up moving the pair and tearing off the sword leaf to move with them. They are now in a 60 litre quarantine/breeder, on their won and still guarding the eggs.
Keyholes and the “first” ram pair both look ready to spawn, the two are competing for the same area of the tank to spawn in, which means that the rams will get it and the keyholes will have to find somewhere else.
The tank is still on a 4-5% daily water change. I have not been using dechlorinator because anything in the tap water would instantly be diluted by 20 times.
I have also added some Indian almond leaves to add a black water effect and a couple new pieces of oak. The plecos have made a good job of munching through it, especially the rusty pleco (Hypostomus cochliodon), who are one of the “true” wood eaters.
The Amazon sword (Echinodorus bleheri) has moved forward, so it is now more visible. I am also trying to grow a few cuttings, towards the front of the tank.
The other two females are still full of eggs and with their papilla (tubes through which the eggs are laid) down, but not spawning yet.
Water parameters are 25° C, pH 7.6, GH 20°, KH 3° and nitrate 20 ppm.
The incompatible pair is not defending their territory as much as the other two pairs, and do bicker between themselves.
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.
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.
As always, the eggs were gone once lights went off, but I do plan to attempt breeding them in a dedicated aquarium in the next few months.
The loss of the last spawn, from this pair, which took place in the community aquarium resulted in the aggression between the pair and the other two males and required the removal of the pair into other accommodation. It looks like the 5 ft, 150 cm, aquarium is just big enough for the four to stay out of each other’s way.
Temperature is currently 26 °C.