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Thursday, August 13 Front Page >> Random Rants >> Lil' Patate Frites in the tank...

Mar 05, 2002, 4:25pm

I don't think I mentioned this to my Spiffle reading crowd before, but for Christmas, I bought Jeanette a full 20 gallon fish tank, and we followed all the rules and populated it. I actually bought it for her a few weeks before Christmas.

It was bought because Jeanette's doctor highly recommended that she find ways to reduce the stress in her life, and learn to relax, a skill she doesn't have in any real sense. A tank full of healthy, active fish was one of the possibilities we discussed, so I outlaid a few hun to get a good setup. Both her and I did a lot of reading to learn what it takes to have a successful tank. Over the next two months, we steadily populated it, careful with things like cycling, water changes, and acclimatizing fish.

Over those months, we lost about 7 fish in the process, but currently we have a heathy, vibrant and active tank with about 20 fish in total, including 9 white cloud minnows, 2 mature molly fish (they look like dalmations), and 8 swordtails of different colours - 3 gold, 3 black, and 2 neon white. We also have a funky dojo algae eater catfish.

Click for larger image
Count the Fry!
In this picture, there at least 9 fry visible - can you spot them all?
(click image to enlarge)

In the past two weeks, our tank population has swelled to 35. The molly gave birth to 4 fry a couple of weeks ago (2 left), and just yesterday, a VERY pregnant black swordtail female gave birth to 16 (!!!!) fry, and 13 survived birth.

Fry are cool. But they're also prime fodder food for the rest of the community tank. Even mommy will eat her offspring. We have a birthing tank insert that sits in the big community tank (and shares our 20 gallon tank's water) The birthing insert is a kind of two piece thing - the preggers mom goes in a large area. There's a siphon tube at the bottom. It's interconnected with an air hose which draws water through the siphon tube. The fry, when born, fall through a slit in the big chamber (mommy can't fit through it), and are sucked through the siphon tube over to a second smaller chamber, where the fry can live in relative peace.

Problem we currently have is this - the two older fry from the Molly's birthing a couple of weeks ago are picking on the newborns. I guess survival of the fittest is apropos here, but at least the lil' fry have a better chance at survival in this small isolated tank, when compared to the big community tank.

Fish are cool. This was bought to relax Jeanette a bit, but I'm finding it very soothing as well.

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