Fish soap

A little splash of water to quench this drought of posts.

We like having fish, we’re just not really good fishkeepers. Credit goes to Frank for feeding the bity things everyday, but cleaning the aquarium is a spring-cleaning sort of thing around here, not a weekly or even monthly habit – well alright, maybe we do it twice a year…

Thus, to pat ourselves on the back, we like to acquire new inhabitants when we’ve freshened our water-filled micro-environment (and to replace the deceased).

Our fishtank is 29 gallon freshwater. Here it is cleaned up and redecorated:

Its dean is a really resistant pleco (window cleaner fish) that’s about… I’d say around 25 cm now.

There’s another small cleaner fish, but it never really grew. We’re actually surprised it made it for so long.

Apart from the cleaning team, our aquarium is housing african cichlids. These fish are interesting as they can be more lively than other types, and over time they get big enough (depending on tank size) and will sport nice colours and stripes. However, they can be somewhat aggressive and territorial towards other types of fish – cleaner fish are ok, but other kinds are NOT safe – and it is best not to mix them.

After last cleanup, we donated the big goldfish we had been keeping since we moved, and acquired 5 cichlids. The first to go down actually didn’t last long, but it was sort of small and we expected some losses at first. I think the albinos was the next to go, though we never did find the body. Then something funny happened : the biggest of the bunch started being picked on by orange one, and finally turned belly-up. That left the orange cichlid, and another striped one, so the orange started bullying its younger counterpart into a corner behind the floor-filter pump.

A discussion with the knowledgeable pet store guy – seriously, silly name aside, the « Wouf Miaou » pet store in town is THE place for fish lovers – revealed that what we have here is the serial killer of cichlids. The guy says that particular type of fish was causing so much trouble they stopped selling it (we’d bought that one elsewhere). Best solution – short of getting rid of that bad boy, which is plan B if he acts up again – is to add at least 2 new fish to even odds, and big enough so they have a fighting chance.

The introduction now done, I give you: the cichlids.

Our very own serial killer (pretty, isn’t he?). You’d never guess such a cheery-coloured set of scales is dressing up such foul behaviour:

The survivor – he actually seems to feel better now that his orange friend has to divide his attentions in three:

The new guy. This one will be SO pretty once his blue colour is in full regalia! Now if he could only hang out in the light…

The other new guy. He’ll have a pretty yellow crest in a while, I think. Too bad he took up residence in front of the black portion of the background. The orange one actually seemed to be flirting with him when we put him in (!?!)

That’s it for the daytime drama of our water friends. I’ll try posting if there is further development to the liquid territory war.
Une petite vague d’eau dans cette sécheresse de posts.

Nous aimons bien avoir des poissons, nous sommes seulement assez négligeants sur l’entretien. Il faut créditer à François qu’il nourrit les petites choses chaque jour, mais nettoyer l’aquarium fait partie de la catégorie ménage-de-printemps par ici, pas vraiment une habitude hebdomadaire ou même mensuelle – bon d’accord, peut-être que nous nous en occupons deux fois par année…

Alors donc, pour nous donner une tape dans le dos, nous aimons acquérir de nouveaux habitants lorsque nous avons rafraîchi notre micro-environnement aquatique (et pour remplacer les défunts).

Notre aquarium est 29 gallon, eau douce. Le voici nettoyé et redécoré:

Son doyen est un pleco vraiment résistant (nettoyeur de vitres) qui fait environ… je dirais 25 cm maintenant.

Il y a un autre petit poisson nettoyeur, mais il n’a jamais vraiment grandi. Nous sommes surpris qu’il ait survécu jusqu’à maintenant.

Mis à part l’équipe de nettoyage, notre aquarium abrite des cichlidés africains. Ces poissons sont intéressants puisqu’ils peuvent être plus vifs que d’autres, et avec le temps ils deviendront assez gros (dépendant de la grandeur de l’aquarium) et présenterons de jolies couleurs et bandes. Toutefois, ils peuvent être plutôt aggressifs et territoriaux envers d’autres types de poissons – les poissons nettoyeurs ça va, mais les autres sorts ne sont PAS en sécurité – et il est mieux de ne pas les mélanger.

Après le dernier nettoyage, nous avons donné les gros poissons rouges que nous gardions depuis le déménagement, et avons acquis 5 cichlidés. Le premier à partir n’a pas duré longtemps, en fait, mais il était petit et nous nous attendions à quelques pertes au départ. Je crois que l’albinos a été le suivant, quoique nous n’avons jamais retrouvé le corps. Puis quelque chose d’étrange est arrivé : le plus gros de la gang a commencé à se faire agacer par le poisson orange, et a éventuellement fini le ventre en l’air. Ça laissait le cichlidé orange et un autre rayé, alors le orange s’est mis à repousser son jeune ami dans un coin en arrière de la pompe du filtre de fond.

Une discussion avec le gars connaisseur de l’animalerie – sérieusement, en dépit du nom comique, l’animalerie « Wouf Miaou » en ville est LA place pour les amateurs de poissons – a révélée que ce que nous avons ici est le tueur en série des cichlidés. Le gars dit que ce type de poisson particulier cause tellement de problèmes qu’ils ont arrêté de le tenir en magasin (nous l’avions acquis à un autre endroit). La meilleure solution – à part se débarasser de ce fauteur de troubles, ce qui est le plan B s’il recommence – est d’ajouter au moins 2 nouveaux poissons pour équilibrer, et assez gros pour qu’ils aient une chance.

L’introduction maintenant terminée, je vous présente : les cichlidés.

Notre propre tueur en série (joli, n’est-il pas?). On ne devinerait jamais que sous des écailles aux couleurs si joyeuses se cache un tempérament si horrible:

Le survivant – on dirait qu’il se porte mieux maintenant que son ami orange doit partager ses attentions en trois :

Le petit nouveau. Celui-là va être TELLEMENT cute quand sa couleur bleue va être à son meilleur! S’il pouvait seulement se tenir sous la lumière un peu…

L’autre nouveau. Il aura une jolie crête jaune dans quelques temps, je crois. C’est dommage qu’il a pris résidence devant la portion noire du décor. Le orange semblait en fait flirter avec lui lorsque nous l’avons mis dans l’aquarium (!?!)

Et voilà pour le téléroman de nos amis d’eau. J’essaierai de noter s’il y a d’autres développements dans la guerre des territoires liquides.


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7 commentaires sur “Fish soap”

  1. The past several years have served to show that I am not really much of a pet person at all. Before my wife and I were even married we got a single beta fish. (I think they’re also called samurai fighting fish?) Apparently, they thrive living alone, which is mostly because if you put two of them together (most notably males) they will spar until one is killed. I thought it would have been pretty cool to buy two, put them together in the same bowl, and sell tickets to the Northern Alberta Ultimate Fighting Fish Death Match. Unfortunately, Amy would have none of it.

    She named him « Myth ». Which was short for Mithter Fish. Apparently he had a lisp. He only lasted about six months before we gave him his posthumous toilet swirlie.

    Yours are much prettier, larger, and quite obviously longer-lived. (Well, most of them.)

  2. I love the idea of fish…but have never really enjoyed owning fish. I’d sit and watch yours swim for hours. My own would languish, ignored and unloved. Sad but true fact about myself.

    At some point in the future we may invite some fish into our home so that Norah will have a way to begin learning about the responsibility of pets. But that is a ways off. For now I’ll just look at your lovely fish.

  3. Simon : in my experience, betas rarely last really long, either because of a naturally short lifespan, or because they are the type of fish people buy to decorate their kitchen table, I do not know. The downside of being pretty. Goldfish usually last longer in a bowl, and it’s possible to get some pretty ones with nicely shaped tails or black colouring, etc. (I’ve had one for about 3 or 4 years, which had its bowl cleaned usually before the alguae crawled out, but that’s about it. A toughie, that one.)

    Paul, that was our attempt when placing the big plant and bamboo canes in there (coral formations imitations were too pricey for our aquarium budget this time around). You should have seen the decor desert before that.
    Unless I’m mistaken, you’re keeping a saltwater tank with fish and live plants, which I’d love to see – do you have a pic up online? That’s many level-ups from our competence and devotion, but I love admiring those setups. I used to have live plants, too, but we don’t have enough control over the water right now to keep those.

    Moksha, if we were to take proper care of the fishtank, the fish would be as much maintenance as a cat or, I don’t know… a bird. And if you are going with a full fishtank (not just a bowl), it’s possible it would be more pricey than another pet choice. Something to think about when Norah gets a pet. Also, adults can be fascinated by the relaxing behaviour of fish, but most kids, after the first thrill of getting fish, can get… well, bored. 😉

  4. The woman who hired Mike for the company for which he still works had no children and a wealthy husband. The had TWO in-wall saltwater tanks that were easily 8 x 12 (I couldn’t tell how far back they went, the water distorting perception) and had an amazing collection of those poisonous lion fish. I thought I overheard her telling someone at the party we went to at their home that they had a scuba diver come clean them!

    I do love going to large public aquariums, though. We’ve got quite a collection of them under our belts – Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans (pre-Katriana – sad to think how much damage was done), Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg (which is more impressive than it sounds), the one in Chicago, The Dallas aquarium, the largest freshwater one in Chattanooga, Tennessee, The National Aquarium in Baltimore, but my very favourite and the Holy Grail is the newest one in Atlanta with the world’s largest salt-water tank. They have THREE whale sharks. Ooo, ahh.

    I like fish. Not just because they’re delicious.

  5. We don’t have enough public aquariums here. The only real one Frank and I visited was during our trip to Boston. That’s where I got to touch sea stars. I also got to pet a shark when we went to Granby Zoo a couple summers back. *grin* The skin’s different than what you’d expect.

    I’d love to be able to afford the sort of setup you’re describing (I’d even settle for a little smaller!)… and mostly, afford the maintenance service to keep it up.

  6. Pretty fish! Cichalids can be fairly nasty from I’ve heard, so congratualtions on keeping them alive! I had no idea they came in different clours though.

    fwiw, I had a beta for well over two years, and I’m certain that it was the stress of a move that killed him, not age.

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