Archive for April, 2011

4/22/2011: Red Cherry Shrimp

You thought I’d disappeared, didn’t you? Well, I didn’t. I have a couple of interesting things to talk about too.

I’ll start with the big one: after several days of looking locally for some Red Cherry Shrimp, I finally found a source for them that is about a 15-minute drive from me. I went yesterday to pick up the shrimp and surprise! Some of them actually made it alive into the tank! I got about 25 of them, most of them are juveniles, and some are as small as 1/4 inch, but I’m already starting to see their red color develop, and they seem to be doing well so far. I have some pictures:

If all goes well, there will be enough to start a colony and they’ll reproduce like crazy.

Last night while I was getting the algae ready for the saltwater tank, I noticed three of the cardinals doing something kind of strange. They were trying to intimidate each other, and they were being kind of aggressive. This is weird because I can’t think of much of a reason they would decide to do this unless the male that had eggs in his mouth somehow died. I haven’t seen him in a while, so that’s not really a good thing. On the other hand, when they’re doing this, it’s a great time to take pictures of them, so I have a few pictures.

I also took some up-to-date full-tank shots of the shrimp tank and the saltwater tank, since I think my previous ones are several months old. Here they are.

What’s next: I want to take an updated video of each of the tanks, particularly the saltwater tank since the last video I took was before I moved. Also, there’s a different local fish club I found out about, which is actually how I was able to find the guy who sold me the Red Cherry Shrimp, so I’m going to look at that some more and with any luck, it might be a source for the rams I’ve been wanting for the 55G tank.

4/14/2011: Names!

I figured out why the tangs were getting along so well so quickly. It was easy for the Powder Brown tang because I saw where he got hit, but it turns out that the Atlantic Blue tang got hit as well, which explains why he has accepted his submissive role so quickly. He actually got it pretty bad, even worse than the Powder Brown, I just didn’t see it until I came home one day and he turned yellow for a bit, then it was really easy to tell.

Yeah, there was a little bit of violence in the tank, but both of the new guys are going to be just fine, and I’m pretty happy with how it all turned out. I’m confident enough at this point about everything to officially give the new guys their names (and it’s about time, too).

The Atlantic Blue Tang will be known as Buzz

and the Powder Brown Tang will be known as Fido.

That’s all for now.

4/12/2011: A couple of small things

Not too much to write about today, but there was one interesting thing. I came home from work yesterday and saw that all three tangs in the saltwater tank were friends! I’m surprised that it happened this quickly, but unless I’m missing something big, I think their social hierarchy has been established and they’re all happy with it. I’ve seen zero aggression between the tangs since then, just Filet showing his dominance whenever he feels like it.

Of course, this makes me happy because all three tangs are much happier now. On the other hand, the names I had planned assumed that the Atlantic Blue would end up being the dominant tang, so I’m rethinking names for them. I think I’m going to wait until the end of the week to make sure this behavior holds up, and hopefully I’ll get the names sorted out by then.

The only one in the tank that still has any problems is Butch. He’s still not happy about the whole situation, and has been sort of aggressive towards the new tangs, but I’m not too worried about it. The tangs aren’t really bothered by it, and either one or two things will happen:

Butch will eventually just drop it and realize that the tangs aren’t out to get him, or

Butch will cross a line with one of the tangs, he’ll get hit hard once, and he’ll get put in his place.

Any of those tangs could easily take Butch on and not even get scratched, so we’ll see what Butch decides to do with himself here. As for names, I’ll say I’m planning on making it official by Thursday.

4/11/2011: Update and lots of pictures!

Well the big day finally came, and I’ve got a ton of pictures. I’ll update by tank.

Quarantine Tank: Not there anymore! The two tangs were successfully moved to the big saltwater tank, so now I have this stand with no fish tank on it. What am I gonna do with that?

20G Planted “Shrimp” Tank: I think it’s OK to call this one: zero out of the 30+ shrimp I ordered were alive after being moved to my tank. I’ve started digging on a way to get some Red Cherry Shrimp locally, but there’s still a ways to go. The plants are doing great, though. There isn’t anything interesting in this tank right now, since it’s just plants, so no pictures.

55G Freshwater Tank: I’ve officially decided that I can’t keep an up-to-date accurate count of how many of each type of fish there are in this tank. I’ve seen a few that have died in the past week, which is to be expected, but there’s just no way to count them all. Torpedo is enjoying himself.

I have some pictures of this tank, I’ve gotten some decent quality sunrise and sunset pictures. Also, I realized that I don’t have very many pictures at all of the actual fish in the tank, so I have a couple of those too. I really like this tank, and I can’t wait to get the rams so we see more schooling behavior from the tetras.

First, a new full-tank shot (one I’m actually happy with):

A couple of sunset pictures:

A sunrise picture:

And some more pictures of the fish:

150G Saltwater Tank: It’s certainly been eventful in this tank. Saturday evening I added in the two new tangs; they were both really upset about the whole process until they made it into the tank. I’ve seen a lot of interesting behavior from everybody since the new additions were added.

Sarge actually seems unaffected, he’s still the largest fish in the tank, and since he’s very different from the new guys, there isn’t much aggression. He still swims around like he’s in charge, and anyone that would actually want to challenge him is afraid to because they’re so much smaller than him. I think more than anything he just likes having some new faces around.

Butch is really upset about the change. He’s been overly aggressive to just about everyone, and I can tell he’s raging out. He used to be boss over everyone except Sarge and Filet, and he clearly doesn’t like the idea of more fish being higher up than he is. Granted, he’s mostly harmless to the tangs, so eventually everyone will just get over it all.

It’s really interesting to watch the tangs interact, especially since they have three distinct and different personalities. The Powder Brown tang is smaller than the other two, who are roughly the same size. Filet is a little larger, but the Atlantic Blue is chunkier. Of course Filet has the home-field advantage, and nobody has really been able to touch him. This actually surprised me a little bit because I thought the Atlantic Blue would give him a run for his money — it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he did once he was more comfortable in the tank.

The Powder Brown tang looked like he thought he was going to be boss of everyone, but after the first night he had calmed down considerably. He also has a gash on one side of his body that looked like it came from another tang, so he must have been put in his place. I think he’s already accepted this and is starting to adjust very well to it. I really like what he’s adding to the tank, he looks awesome.

It’s a battle for dominance between the Atlantic Blue tang and Filet, and Filet is winning, but it’s not over yet. I originally had names planned out for the two new tangs, but I assumed the Atlantic Blue would end up being the dominant one, and the names reflected that. If Filet ends up being the boss, I’ll need to re-think the names. Names will be official once dominance has been established, which will be a couple of weeks at the most (or it could be tomorrow).

Something interesting about the Atlantic Blue tang’s color. When I got him from the fish store, he was yellow, but I think his color might have changed to blue for good. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if his “yellow phase” is over, and that he went through sort of a rite of passage during his quarantine.

I took some pictures of just the new tangs, and then I also took pictures when they were eating the algae. The Powder Brown tang actually hung back and let the other guys eat for a while before he went in for his turn, which is why I don’t think I got any pictures of all three tangs eating algae at the same time, but I did get some good pictures. Here they are:

I really like the middle-right picture, I think that’s one of my best shots. Also, you can really see in the pictures with Butch in them how dark he is — he only gets that dark when he’s REALLY mad.

That’s all for now, there will be more updates and pictures as more interesting things happen.

4/7/2011: News, but no pictures

Hi. I have news; some good, some bad. I don’t have pictures, but I have some pretty good excuses for not having pictures.

Saltwater tank: I noticed that Ruckus’ eye looked bad again, I also noticed both of Butch’s eyes were popped out really bad, and several other of the fish were “flashing” (that’s a sign of having the ich parasite). I was really worried, but then I woke up. What a terrible dream. Everyone is fine in that tank.

I haven’t seen Sunny in a while. Granted, he’s disappeared for a long time like this before and ended up in the overflow cup before, so I’ll have to do a thorough search before I say anything definitive, but Dantrell has recently taken to swimming across the tank just to attack Sunny, so hopefully he’s OK.

Planted tank: Yesterday the shrimp arrived in the mail. However, a majority of them were DOA. Someone is getting negative feedback on eBay! I’m might try and find a local breeder for Red Cherry Shrimp, but maybe enough made it to start a colony anyways. I’ll have to wait and see.

My excuse for not having pictures: I couldn’t catch any of the fish out of that tank without moving some of the plants, which stirred up the gravel and made the tank really messy and cloudy. Not to mention that any surviving shrimp were hiding pretty well because they were probably very stressed. Any pictures I would have taken would look like an empty, cloudy, dirty tank.

55G tank: All of the fish, including Torpedo, were moved to this tank last night. Torpedo seemed pretty disoriented at first, but I’m sure he’ll enjoy all the extra room he has to swim around. Except for the rams, this tank is now stocked. It will be really nice to get some more aggressive fish in this tank, because I’m not seeing much schooling behavior at the moment.

I should mention, that there have been a couple of casualties so far in this tank: two glowlight tetras. It’s unreasonable to think that I can buy 50+ fish and not lose any of them due to the stress of moving, but that doesn’t make it any less sad. Hopefully I won’t lose any more.

My excuse for not having pictures: the pictures I want to take of this tank involve really seeing the lighting. In order to get the best pictures of that, I have to wait until the sun goes down so that light pollution doesn’t get in the picture. I was busy the last two nights in that window between the sunset outside and the sunset in the tank.

Yeah, I know I could adjust the lights manually to get the pictures I wanted, but how would you feel if someone turned on the lights in your bedroom and woke you up in the middle of the night to take pictures of you?

Quarantine tank: two more days! The two tangs are adjusting back to “normal” marine water conditions pretty well. It’s not their favorite thing in the world but they’re doing fine.

My excuse for not having pictures (well, video): I mentioned last update that I was going to try and get a video of something cute the tangs were doing. Well, they aren’t doing it anymore, so I’ll just write about it.

I’ve noticed a big turn-around in the Atlantic Blue Tang’s personality over the past four weeks. He used to be really, really timid, and wouldn’t even come out to eat until I left the room. He even let the Powder Brown Tang push him around, even though he was much bigger. This may sound crazy, but I think some of it had to do with losing the Naso Tang — The Atlantic Blue really liked him, and I think he was really upset for a while, he seemed that way, especially when the Naso died. He snapped out of it all of a sudden, which is why I’ve had to separate them. Well now they both get excited when I enter the room, and they actively beg for food, which is great.

A little education on the coloration of fish, specifically the Atlantic Blue Tang: Almost all fish have what I call “daytime colors” and “nighttime colors.” The nighttime colors are usually darker or more drab, and sometimes show patterns. For example, most of the tetras and the cardinals turn to a solid grey; Sarge, Ruckus and Butch turn mostly black, but Filet gets this brown circle with a white line through it on both sides of his body, and Dantrell gets covered in white spots. These colors show up when the fish are “sleeping”, but also when they are stressed for some reason. Basically you know they’re awake and happy if their colors are radiant, and this is increased by having a day/night cycle in the tank. That’s something I learned from keeping saltwater fish. The Atlantic Blue Tang’s “nighttime colors” are the deep purple that’s in all of the pictures I’ve been able to get. He’s basically constantly stressed because he’s in a small tank, and there’s another fish in the tank that he wants to be aggressive towards. These colors will most likely go away when he goes into the big tank and we’ll see his “daytime colors.” Now his daytime colors are interesting by themselves. As a juvenile, he will be a pale yellow, with some faint vertical stripes, but as he matures, his color will change to blue. The tang I have is still in the “yellow phase.”

So what the Atlantic Blue Tang was doing that I thought was cute — he’ll just be chilling in the tank, looking through the barrier, wishing he could harass the Powder Brown Tang. Then I walk in the room and I show him the can of food. I’ll see his colors briefly turn back to his natural yellow, and he gets really excited for the food, at least until I get too close to the tank and he puts his guard back up. It was just a great example of how you can use those colors to tell exactly how a fish is feeling. I’m really excited to see how he takes to the big tank and how that affects his colors.

4/5/2011: It’s finally a fish tank!

Just be glad I didn’t say it’s “o-fish-ially a fish tank”

After having a lovely 55-gallon fish tank in my office for almost two months without fish in it, it’s finally changed, and yes, I have pictures.

I should start by updating from last week:

1. Ruckus’ eye is completely healed and he can see fine out of both eyes (as far as I can tell).

2. Unless something really bad happens, the two tangs in quarantine will make it into the display tank this weekend. I think I’m going to start a slow acclimation on Wednesday. There will be pictures, and I’m trying to get a picture/video of them because they do something kind of cute when they think they’re going to get fed.

3. The cycle issues I was having when I updated last have been solved. It turns out that it’s a good thing I waited to add fish, because due to a bunch of chemical reasons that I halfway understand, and the softer-than-usual water that comes out of the tap here, I had a pH crash in the 55-gallon tank. Everything has been fixed and taken care of, and the problem won’t happen again. If you want to read all about it, there’s a thread on the aquarium forum I go to that deals with it — turns out that two other people on there from Virginia were having the same problem I was at the same time.

4. I think I’m finally happy with the aquascaping in that tank, I ended up getting some more rock and a different piece of driftwood that doesn’t float (this one was expensive, but it was totally worth it, you’ll see it in the pictures). As far as the floating piece of driftwood goes, I’m going to stick it in a 5-gallon bucket filled with water, and leave it in my backyard all summer. If it doesn’t sink after that, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it. If it does sink after that, I’m still not sure what I’ll do with it.

So here’s the deal with the 55G tank: I’m going to stock the tank with everything except the rams now, and I’ll wait as long as I need to wait in order to find a healthy pair of rams for the tank. Yesterday night I bought 53 fish for the tank:

22 (+4) neon tetras
6 (+4) black neon tetras
25 glowlight tetras

Those (+4)s; the four neons, four black neons, and Torpedo; are still in the planted tank. I’ve ordered the shrimp for that tank and when the shrimp arrive, I’ll move those fish over to the new tank. At that point, there will be 61 tetras and Torpedo in the 55G tank, and it will be fully stocked except for the rams.

Time for some pictures! I’ll start with my best attempt at a full-tank shot.

I’m not quite happy with the quality of some of these, the problem is that the room is small enough that it’s difficult to get far enough away from the tank to get the whole thing in the picture. It’s going to take me a few more tries to get a full-tank shot I’m happy with, hopefully I’ll get it figured out some day. More pictures:

I’m pretty happy with the aquascaping, especially on the left side of the tank with the rocks and that awesome piece of driftwood. Also, I’ve taken another fast-forward video of the lighting system in action. It’s decent quality, but I think that the orange lights don’t show up on the video as much as they do in real life.

I’m pretty sure that as I figure out the best way to take pictures of this tank without using the flash (since that kind of destroys the lighting effects I have going), you’ll be seeing more dramatic (and less blurry) shots of the 55-gallon tank.

This is an exciting week for all of my fish tanks, and this is the first update of many. There will be more pictures, hopefully a few more videos, and a lot of happy fish.

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