Aquarium Trauma

Major tank die off of fish and we don’t know why. Water’s right and the temp is right. The fish don’t even look sick until they suddenly stop and die. Nothing weird looking about them. No discolorations. No swellings. No rot. This began a week ago and has hit critical mass today. We’ve not a clue what is wrong and no information we get is any help. We’ve lost some of our favorite guppies.

Snails and Frogs

Bad snail! Bad! Don’t eat the aquarium frog! (Imagine, snails as bullies. They frequently pester the aquarium frogs and the frogs don’t like it. A snail just landed on one of them and terrified the poor frog. The frog would try to move, the big snail would cling on, wrapped nearly around it.

The snails got me reading about octopi and how there are people who will try to keep them in home salt water aquariums but it’s almost impossible as they’re so smart and are such escape artists. Plus they bore so easily that it’s fairly cruel to do to them. I already knew this but was reacquainting myself, having been charmed by their distant cousins, the snails, who haven’t much of a brain going for them. My favorite pro aquarium story so far is of an octopus who didn’t like that it’s been fed slightly spoiled shrip, waited until the keeper returned, made eye contact, then jammed the food down the drain.

Kermit 1 and 2

Kermit comes out to visit
Light box enlargement

We used to have goldfish. For six years we had a few goldfish. Now we keep a tropical aquarium. At least for two weeks we have. In it are guppies and neon tetras and snails and a couple sucker fish and several teeny tiny transparent catfsh and two African dwarf aquarium frogs.

Rarely do the frogs present themselves and when they do it’s one at a time. They hide. H.o.p. named them Kermit…both of them, as we can’t tell the difference between the two yet as we only see them one at a time and they are so similar that to our eyes we’ve been unable to note any distinguishing markings.

Kermit 1 (or Kermit 2) came out for a bit today. I always worry Kermit is starving since I never see him/her and thus never see him/her eat.

Bye-bye goldfish

Doing my yoga last night, I missed my goldfish. You see, our apartment is small enough that I have only one place I can do my yoga, which is in the walkway between the living room and computer/dining room/office which is where the fish tank is tucked in a corner next to the bathroom door. And, even there, when I lie down to do the final twists before Shavasana, I don’t have the room to extend my arms out fully, I must bend them at the elbows.

So, that is where I do my yoga, and I would watch my fish while I did my yoga and my fish would swim over to the side of the tank closest me and would watch. I’d talk to it and it would stay over on that side of the tank as long as I was doing my yoga.

Now, my goldfish is dead.

Goldfish have proven very difficult to take care of in a vertical tank. They’re fine up to a certain size and then are suddenly too big and problems begin.

Even with only one or two in a thirty gallon tank with an oxygen pump.

We grew goldfish big.

Now they are dead and gone and our five year time of living with goldfish is over, I guess.

We likely will replace with Angelfish but not right now. If we are going to be moving into the other apartment, then we don’t want to start a new tank yet.

H.o.p.’s Ants Arrived

For the blog - H.o.p.'s new ant farm

We sent off for H.o.p.’s ants from Uncle Milton Sept. 4th. The window for arrival had the latest date as Oct. 18th. Last week we received notice that they’d be mailing them out and they arrived today, first class mail, in an envelope marked “Temperature sensitive, Keep from Heat and Frost, Perishable, Handle with care”.

These being harvester ants, they arrive without queen, and ready to bite. Kind of. They weren’t moving much. As instructed, to calm them (they were already pretty out of it, only three appearing to be alive at the time) we put them in the refrigerator for fifteen minutes then transferred them to the ant farm.

Slowly, over the course of the evening, they have begun to revive. We think 24 made it and 3 or 4 were dead.

They’ve been exploring a bit. You poke three one inch holes in the gel to enable their tunneling but thus far they’ve not explored those holes. Instead they are up and down the top of the aquarium, and have begun to break up bits of gel off the surface and down one of the sides.

For the blog - H.o.p.'s new ant farm

They have been breaking apart their dead.

Breaking things up into little bits seems what these guys are geared to do.

All in all, there’s not much else going on right now.

One isn’t supposed to move them much, and keep them out of direct light, in a place where they won’t be jostled. We chose a bookshelf where H.o.p. can easily observe them.

They’ll entertain us for one to three months and then begin to die and what we’ll then have on our hands is a depressing art installation on futile industry.

Here’s a guy with a pretty cool ant farm that has LED lights at the bottom that enable viewing.

An aside on how the hermit crabs are doing. After our last sand change a couple of weeks ago, Sarah dug down deep and hasn’t surfaced. There’s no dead fish smell so she must be moulting. Jerry and Climber only come out at night, spending their days holed up under the driftwood. After the last change of sand we immediately began having a problem with mold, which isn’t good. Since Sarah is down deep (we know approximately where she is, not exactly) we’ve not changed the sand as we worry about disturbing her.

Friday former cat blogging

Below is Woody (Woodrow).

Woodrow (Woodie), 1970s

Back in the late 1970s, a Scottish singer Marty was working with gave us a call to tell us someone they knew had a couple of 3-day-old kittens on their hands, the mom had given birth and run off promptly so they were looking for someone to take care of the runt kittens that no one would take. The Scottish woman knew we were saps and easy marks. And enthusiastic easy marks at that. We said, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll do it!” And took in Woodie and his calico sister Rosie (Roosevelt) and raised them up from three day old kittens to full-fledged ultrasweet cats. We had a white german shepherd at the time, Bran, who was kinda dumb but a very gentle dog and Bran helped us out with the cleaning end. Genet, another cat we had at the time, also helped as far as setting a superb big brotherly example…

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Prepping myself to euthanize Nero

Fish tanks are supposed to inspire a sense of peace and well-being.

This is our sad but pretty, calico Ryukin, Nero. Nero wasn’t always in this sad state. She used to swim upright. We have three other goldfish including one other exotic and they are doing quite well, including Dylan, a feeder comet we got him two years ago, our first fish, and, excluding his tail, is now around 8 inches. We regularly clean the tank and do our partial water changes and the water levels are always good. We feed them sinking pellets and brine shrimp and green peas stripped of their skins. Doesn’t matter. One day early last spring Nero, the only female in the tank, began swimming slightly akilter and we realized she likely had a swim bladder problem. We did most everything I could find on the internet to try to help, those sites which said there was help. There were sites that held there was no help, that the affliction is caused by the pronounced egg-shape body build of exotics and that they are prone to it. Nero continued to tilt more and more but still was able to swim very well and was righting herself completely when eating or darting around.

Continue reading Prepping myself to euthanize Nero

Friday Cat Blogging on Thursday

We currently have no cat. We have not had a cat in several years, which is unusual for us as we always had cats before. I could blog about our goldfish, and perhaps will. Tomorrow, while others post pics of their current cats I’m going to perhaps post fish pics, having already written today about our American Bobtail, Malcolm, which means I must also write about Tuesday and Stevie as they constituted the “gang in our lives for many years.
Continue reading Friday Cat Blogging on Thursday