Okay – took care of the monitor and the donut post in one shot.
Then wrote up the poker tourney post.
Will now explain the situation with the aquarium.
Aquarium ecology is difficult. We started with 3 green tiger barbs. Then Catherine felt that they were too rough on each other, so you’re supposed to add more barbs. The idea is that in a school of fish, the bully will spend time bullying all the fish, so no fish is bullied too much. Some of my thesis simulated this effect, if you’re willing to use analogies (analogies are the mark of intelligence by the way). Distributing pain and punishment though is a basic advantage of schooling.
So we got more fish. Thing is, with more fish comes more fish waste. With more fish waste, we need more “helpful” bacteria. Those helpful bacteria though, take time to grow and colonize and reproduce. Until they grow and reproduce and colonize, the fish are in some pretty unhealthy water. High levels of ammonia and nitrates and nitrites.
Also, when we got more fish, one of the new fish was a pretty serious bully itself. So even though there were more fish, there were more bullies. The bullying (a more aggressive tank is more interesting – more action!) combined with the new tank and unhealthy water, leads to what is called stress. Stress also allows for ick. Ick is a parasite that locks onto fish and appears at little white dots. And unless you can reduce the stress, kills the fish.
So we had a little case of ick. The solution to ick is to salt the water a bit, increase the temperature and wait it out. After the first night, one of the fish got tired of waiting it out. He went on to clearer waters.
The next day was Saturday. The fish were looking a bit better, but they were still a bit loopy. Literally loopy. Not able to maintain their equilibrium all the time. Doing barrel rolls. Floating summersaults. Not good signs. Sunday we were to goto Las Vegas. Would the ick fish survive and recover? Or would they die and really poison the tank. One fish didn’t have any ick on him…
I made the executive Creator call. Sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many. The 3 other ick fish also went to clearer waters. By way of trash can. Emptied the trash before we left, put the light on a timer, and wished our solid little green barb friend the best of luck.
As it turns out, he took all our luck while we were in Vegas (I guess that’s another post to do). He survived and seems pretty healthy. Has a good appetite. Oh – ick reduces appetite too – another reason why it’s pretty devastating for the fish. And today, I got my pagodas and Fu Dogs. Since I was going to rearrange the tank and redefine territories, it seemed like a good time to pick some new fish out.
Catherine picked blue gouramis. They’re pretty hearty fish – can take a lot of variance in their water conditions. Plus she thinks they’re pretty. One is in the upper right in the image. The other is hiding in the pagoda. If you click on the image and goto flicker, I’ve added notes where the fish are in the picture.
So that’s the story of the fish up to today.
The biggest surprise recently have been the snails. We bought the live bamboo because we could see from the store that there were a few little snails on it. Snails usually are a problem, cause they reproduce like rabbits. Laying tons of eggs and it’s easy to get way too many snails. So we got the bamboo (which really isn’t bamboo, but that’s another story…) and the snails and were happy with them. Except that after that first night, I didn’t really see the snails again.
Catherine felt that they were eaten by the hyper-friendly barbs. I hoped that they weren’t. That they were hiding in the rocks below. And one day I saw one. And the next day, I’d see another. But that was it. They’re hard to find. Basically, you need to look for a pebble that moves. Which is kind of hard. Because it doesn’t move that fast. Well, it is faster than you’d expect, but still, not that fast. Takes patience. Calm. Then you’ll notice the slow movement.
Anyway, today, as I was scoping out the re-landscaping job I’d have to do, we found around 7 good sized snails. It surprised me. I thought 4 would be a good number. But 7? There’s probably still more under the rocks too…
We’ll need to get another little puffer fish to start eating the snails soon. Then our lifecycle will be complete. I’m wondering a little bit about all the rotting left over snail parts and the shells, but we’ll figure that out when we get to it.