convicts (1) fluffy (1) rebel (1) spawn (1)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Convict breeding pair given away

Finally I managed to give away the convict breeding pair to a good home. A gentleman paid me a visit and he took away the breeding pair along with a few juveniles. The other juveniles (about 50 of them) have been seperated into a tub. The main tank has been completely revamped for the tanganyikan setup. I figured out that a brichardi setup must have a lot of rock work with a vertical piling of rocks to form cave like formations.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Heart set for the brichardi.

I have decided that the next species for my tank is a colony of brichardis. The "princess of burundi" with its unique community behavior is something that I am going to be hopeful to watch.

Current stocking is going to be given away and the tank cleared and setups changed.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Convict update

Pictures of my convict pair and their juveniles in the 33G tank

The juveniles are about 3 months old, the biggest are about 1+ inch

Surprising for convicts, the parents just ignore the juveniles.

The female convict named Rebel, stays at around 3''

The male convict called Fluffy, he is about 4'' now and flowing fins.

More pictures of this update are available here

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Changes on the outdoor tub

This tub was left uncared for for months together. The actual steps done to get the tub together was as follows

1) Purchase the largest plastic tub that could be sourced locally. This holds about ~10G of water.
2) For the substrate I had used layers of coarse river gravel and fine garden potting soil. About 2-3 layers of each, the top most layer being river gravel of course.
3) Filled partially with water
4) Planted the two rosettes of Amazon Sword plant available with me at that time.
5) Fill the tub to the brim with water and allow to sit for a week.
6) Introduced 4 ghost shrimps.

This is how the setup has been for months together now, in rain and sun. I remember having topped up water only once when the water level went past the half way mark.

Today I moved the tub out to a place on the veranda where there will be more sunlight and introduced the red lily plant that I have along with a java moss tied to a rock. Also added were 5 guppies all babies all born here and 1 platy and 1 molly. All these fishes have been born in my tanks.

More sunlight for the plants, climate's cool for the moss. Let me check out how the fishes will do. TBD: Get a piece of mosquito net and keep the tub covered. This will prevent a lot of dust from settling on the water and prevent the fishes from jumping out.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Phew all the fry survived.

I was to spend a weekend in vacation...
Yeah sounds very exciting with all the travel, places to see, people to meet, fun to be sought.
But its a totally different scenario when you have fry growing out.
Last time I was in this situation, my entire batch of platy fry were wiped out, all I found was white speckles that were formerly fry.

This time tough I was not going too long, leaving at 6 AM on Saturday and returning back by 3 PM on Sunday. I had one more support my side, this time I am dealing with Convict babies and these guys are real tough ones.

I did a water change on Friday night I changes about 50% and made sure all the muck was gone. I fed them about 3 times with microworms on the Friday evening. This was before I did the water change and one feeding after the water change happened on Saturday morning.

When I came back on Sunday afternoon, the babies were all there and well hungry, but they were there, they did not give up on me. These are some tough buggers no wonder they are called convicts.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

More worms in my microworm culture

Today I observed bigger worms in my microworm culture. They were white in color, about 3-4mm in length much much thicker than microworms. On doing some searching I discovered that its the larvae of some insects that are also good for the fish. I picked one up and let into the tank and immediately all my fishes were wanting for it. Good now I have some live food for the adults also. I need to find out if it is nutritious and the effects of feeding such worms for my fish.

From this site

"During the warmer months of the year I often find another small worm in the culture as well. This is because the odour of the culture will attract the common housefly, which lays its eggs through the small holes of the container lid. The eggs then hatch and the larvae develop and grow on the culture medium. This may seem a little unpleasant to some people, but these worms are ideal for larger rainbowfishes, which love them. Their development doesn't appear to have any detrimental effects on microworm production."

Monday, September 1, 2008

Whats happenning

The estherae fry are in the mini tank with the lonely juvenile platty male. Snails are multiplying like hell in that tank and I am keeping up with the water changes.

Half the convict fry are in a tub with a couple rocks and the rest are with the parents in the main tank. They should all be separated by end of this week. Feeding routine is a diet of microworms and finely crushed micro pellets and the fry are taking to this very quickly.

the estherae female is recovering from the stress from mouth brooding, its getting the best of feed and is recuperating.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Estherae fry at last

Today at dawn, I switched on the tank lights and I saw the estherae fry. There must have been atleast ten at that time beside the anubias plant. The mother was in a hurry and took all of her babies back into the protection of her mouth.

I filled in the tub with a little water from the fry tank where I had the holding estherae female all the while. It has been over 3 weeks since she started holding and all the while she has not eaten one bit. I decided enough was enough. I moved the female to the tub. This was going to be my maternity ward and I was going to deliver the babies myself.

The technique - as suggested by some members on IAH and a video of "How to stripe fry from holding mouth brooders" that was available on cichlid-forum. I held the fish with my left hand enclosed and with my right I pressed against the mouth and jaw and lightly applied pressure it she spit out the fry. Wow I was so tensed and once it was over I was so happy.

The fry are back to the fry tank and the female will remain in the tub for atleast two weeks and recuperate and gain some strength.

Picture of the fry

For more pictures click here

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Finally some convict babies

Finally the regular convicts paired up. Last week 14th Aug, I observed the convict couple clearing a rock and excavating the gravel beneath to form a cichlid mount kind of structure. I had to go to office and I knew I was going to miss the action, since I saw the breeding tube of the female out.

When I came back there were eggs on the flat stone. I was delighted but not sure if there are fertile or they will also become white like all the previous spawns. Anyways the next 3 days will tell me, I spent Aug 15 the Friday and weekend observing the eggs and taking a few pictures.


However on Sunday Aug 17 I saw a couple of eggs shivering and the parents all excited. But I had to be out of home and when I cam back in the evening I saw that all the eggs were gone and the female was under the stone into the cave guarding fiercely. The male was doing a sentry duty at the perimeter. Also the pair took up half the tank and cornered the other fishes to the other side. I knew that I had a successful hatch. But no sign of the wrigglers yet.

It was another five days to the fry to be free swimming and this happened on Friday 22nd August. I worked from home to catch all the action and the excitement. I came to realize how miserable I am in taking pictures and the only one that came out manageable was this one


There was hundreds of babies and this has got me all pumped up, I have my microworm cultures in the ready and started feeding the fry from the next day. Few more pictures of the fry.


Pradeep made a observation that if it is his male in the pair then it is better to separate the fry since the male has eaten the fry previously. I have separated half the fry in a grow out tub and trying to suck out the rest, but the parents are proving to be real aggressive. They bite my hand.


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hands full

One female esterae holding. Thats in the second week. Still seems to be active but not eating one bit.

One female platy with pop eye and torn fins, this I am treating with raised temperature and salt and aeration and hoping it will get back to normal.

One female convict, the biggest female that I have separated to reduce to aggression to couple of new males that I got from Pradeep. (BTW a big thanks to Pradeep Simhan, I have been on the convict male hunt for quite a long time now!)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Outdoor container

Finally managed to get something rolling on this one. Got a large plastic tub, the largest that my local shops could offer. According to my calculations it would be roughly about 15 gallons, but it is wider than tall and the better for plants because diffused sunlight will be able to penetrate better. For the substrate which is about 3'' thick, I have added a bottom layer of river gravel, followed by a middle layer of potting soil and a top layer of the same river gravel again, the gravel is about 3-6mm and I hope will be suitable for the plants. Water was filled to the brim and it is slightly murky as of now, will allow a couple of days for the water to settle.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whats up

Of late nothing new has happened and the pace of setting up has weakened. Water changes keep happening in all the tanks. It happens most in the mini tank which has the guppies (then babies, now mature about 6 months old) a lone platy fry and some gloFish danios. It also has ghost shrimps and wood shrimps.

The cichlids I got from Prabhu are doing quite well, they have settled well. I know that there are couple estarae or the Red zebra and one each of auratus and kenyii but the others I need to do an ID.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

WC: 6G mini tank

Had some time yesterday and did a 30% WC to the 6G tank. Noticed that the tiger lotus is growing well and so is the petite Anubias, but the moss is not doing so well. May be its because the tank is getting only diffused sunlight.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

20G Long sold

A gentleman paid me a visit and took a look at the 20 long, he liked it and picked it up for 650 bucks.

WC and filter clean up - community tank

Last evening we visited my aunt's place for dinner and had some half hour to one hour. Checked out that I had done water changes to my community tank there, but no filter cleaning in a very long time. As expected the filters were fully clogged and full of dirt. Did a water change about 50% and filter clean up and filled with fresh water. This tank is fully matured and the amazon swords 3 bunches are doing really well, its a jungle out there. The banana plant which was doing so well during the initial phases of the tank has receded into a faint memory of its former self. Was good to see the hygrophilla cuttings doing ok.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

WC and cleaning - cichlid tank

After a long time, I made a partial water change on my convict tank. The water parameters were stable, no ammonia, no nitride and no nitrates also - the API master test kit was not able to detect any. But still I went for a partial water change, about 30%. I noticed that the water was a yellowish shade, I think because the driftwood is still leaching its tannins into the water, but that is not a cause of concern for me.

I cleaned the HOB completely, of course from water from the tank. cleaned the filter cartridges and media and also cleaned the internal power filter sponge and set every thing back. As for the glass, I wiped clean only the front face as I did not want to lose too much algae since I have the pleco in. The filter media were messy and full of dirt and cleaning them was a thing but everything is cleaner now and will perform better.

Finally did some changes to the aquascape. The sand substrate was flat throughout except potions which are claimed by the cichlid couple. they are digging furiously to make their caves in the substrate, but they hit the glass bottom... I created some mounds and valleys to soften the landscape a bit. Waiting for the sand to settle before I take some pictures.

Next plans - cement tank

I am planning to get a cement tank, longer than tall a little wide, should be ideal for having plants that grow out of the tank and will house a few guppies and other fish that I want to grow out. Currently I am looking for places where I can get such a tank or have something made.
I have seen some places on Sarjapur road leading to Agara circle, where there are folks who make pots for plants. Planning to check them out. Suggestions welcome.

Next plans - Wooden stand

1. Build a 2.5x1.5x3 stand for the aquarium at aunt's place. I am planning for a wooden stand. The tank has a foot print of 2x1, I am going to make it a double stand and hence the 3 ft height. Initial design completed with google sketchup and it looks like this.

For this I need 2''x2'' lumber - hard wood, at the moment I am undecided on what to get, but that will depend on the cft rate so that I get the best deal. The assembly will be using 4'' wood screws and the plywood will be 1'' thick.

Wood required will be
Legs - 2'' x 2'' x 3' (4 nos)
frame - 2'' x 2'' * 30'' (4 nos)
Plywood sheet - 2.5' x 1.5' (2 sheets)

Planning to get the wood cut to size at the timber shop so that it will save me the pain of cutting. Choice of paint or wood stain to be decided later.

updated design with extra legs for stability (as suggested by Seetharam of IAH - my thanks)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Meet the Aquarist - Vimal Stan

Vimal Stan is a fellow aquarist from HSR Layout and he is into planted tanks. He has got a 4.5 x 2 x 2 tank that he has built from 12 mm polished glass. The tank sits on a custom made fully enclosed metal stand and custom metal hood that is supported on the stand.

He has got mounted about 4 powerful CFL lamps with reflectors for his tank which is fully planted with moss, ferns, crypts, chain swords, blyxa, hyrdophila and a lot of other plants which I cannot recall. The tank looks beautiful in multiple shades of green, red, and pink. The substrate is about 3'' of ADA soil.

The pressurized CO2 setup is diffused with a diffuser and for filtration he has got a Eheim cannister filter which neatly sits inside the enormous stand. The fishes include Cardinal tetra, Lemon tetra, Glass tetra and Rainbows.

The other tank he has got is a 1 ft cube that has Cherry Shrimps. This is also planted but yet to take off.

I met Vimal at his residence in HSR 4th sector last evening, spent some time admiring his tanks and setup, discussing about his aquascape and his custom designs and left with a lot of Hygrophila Polysperma cuttings.

Thanks Vimal for the great time and looking forward to meeting up again.

Monday, June 16, 2008

End of spawn

Turned out that my first convict spawn was unsuccessful.
The eggs started turning white and by weekend almost all the eggs were white.
The convicts have cleaned up the eggs and are now guarding the flower pot and surroundings very vigorously.

Other updates include a very rare clean up of the mini tank, currently housing 4 gloFish (danio) 6 juvenile guppy, 1 snail and 6 ghost shrimp. The plants are growing well in the sunlight, There is no algae breakout and flora I have are Java moss (including a moss wall), a lily plant (it is reddish to brown in color) and Anubias petite that I recently procured.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Garlic laced fish food

Tried a small experiment.
did not feed the fishes (in both my tanks) for whole of yesterday. I normally feed them twice a day.
Today morning I took one clove of Garlic and mashed it into a paste, added about quarter glass of water and mixed well. In this solution I soaked (for about 2 mins) my cichlid pellets (for cichlid tank) and my community fish (for danios, guppies) pellets and dropped these one by one into the tank. Promptly everything was gobbled up. Planning to do this routine once a month.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Almost 90% of the eggs have turned white and its already past the 72 hours since the eggs were laid. So I think either they were infertile or they had a fungus attack. Anyways I read that first time spawns are mostly unsuccessful and poor little Rebel was as inexperienced as me.

On second thoughts I am beginning to have my suspicions whether Fluffy is male or not. Anyways I can answer that later. Let me watch the what happens to the rest of the eggs that are still golden brown in color and keeps me hopeful.

On the smaller tank at my aunt's place. Did a 30% water change (WC) today. No cleaning the glass, not cleaning out the filter media, just water out and fresh water in.

Eggs turning white

About half of the eggs from the current Convict spawn have turned white. This means that they were not fertile and would eventually catch fungus and waste away. The good news is that about half the eggs still seem to be fine and Rebel is fanning the eggs and keeping it well ventilated.

Anyways it is 3 days tonight from the laying and the eggs are supposed to hatch today.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

20 G Long - Done with the braces

Had some extra pieces of 2 inch wide and 12 inch long 6 mm glass and finished with the top braces for the 20 G long tank that we built over the weekend. I am sure that with 6 mm glass for a tank that is just 12 inches tall, the braces are not required. But done with the braces just to increase the safety factor.

Spawn pictures

Finally managed to take some pictures of the spawn. It appears to be small, probably because the Rebel is still not fully grown.

The eggs attached to the inner top surface of the flower pot.

With mommy

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Looking to sell

I was thinking of selling my 20 Gallon Long tank - 30in L x 12in W x 12in H tank that I built during the weekend. Its a tough one made of 6 mm glass. But with the convicts spawning, I need to rethink of this or get another tank done in another two weeks ready to house whats left of the current spawn.

Pictures of the tank -

Monday, June 9, 2008

My First Convict Spawn

Rebel my pink convict female has spawned. She has laid her eggs on the top surface of the flower pot. She stays mostly inside the pot now and the male convict named Fluffy is performing sentry duty. Looks like if the eggs are fertile they will hatch in 3-4 days time. Till then its a wait.