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Old 06-07-2012, 01:16 AM   #91 
birdielikestomatoes
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Perhaps she's grown so well because of the rich shrimp diet. Kidding. However I've never had experience with fin rot before but this is the first I've read of it being so bad. I do hope he recovers and he seems like he's getting best treatment possible.

On a more positive note I look forward to reading about your fish in the future as their antics have brought a smile to my face.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:46 AM   #92 
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Rich shrimp diet - at $2.90 per shrimp at my LFS? It certainly is.

And yeah, I hope so too. Demyx is a special little guy. BUT! Some good news! I was examining his horribly tattered fins this evening and saw a little bit of repair happening in one of the gaps.. If he is healing, he has a long way to go. But I'm taking that as a good sign and crossing my fingers. :)

As per some advice OldFishLady gave elsewhere on the forum, regarding water being 'too clean' and thus having no good bacteria at all to compete with the bad, I'm not scrubbing his tank and silk plant each water change as I have been doing, so maybe that'll let some good stuff grow to help him along.

This evening's late news:

The shrimp are really pushing it. Mr & Mrs Zoidberg (as Daughter dubbed the two largest shrimp, lol...) have taken to snacking on wood gunk in the open, flagrantly ignoring the Jaws of Death looming above. Though Mr. Zoidberg has the sense to partially hide under an anubias leaf, Mrs. Z seems to simply not care, so Irish & Daughter have both bet me that she'll be the first course.. they're so mean.

Okay, so - I want to move house mid-year. I really do. BUT I also want two things: a pair of betta macrostoma, and a long-armed shrimp.

I have the opportunity to buy both right now.. the macrostoma are on 'special' at $200 for a trio. Though they're unsexed, so I could get three boys, who knows.. A breeding pair is $400 and up, however.. Aaah! I want them. But the cost! And then the tank! And all the other stuff! A bit rich for me, at this point, and I don't want to be moving with half a dozen tanks..

On the other hand! A long-armed shrimp doesn't take up much room.. Or cost a lot. And he'd probably do better in a move...

I hate having all these delays on my newfound hobby! Why can't the world revolve around ME and my gorram FISH (and inverts!), you know? Just for a little while?

The macros.. sigh. The breeder has a new spawn coming in.. so maybe that can wait til summer. But! The NPT and long-armed will happen much sooner, I'm just having a spazz because I want it now and the funds are burning a hole in my pocket.

On the other hand, I could stay in this crumbling old house, which has already suffered one ceiling collapse (almost crushing me!) due to landlord neglect, and get to save a bunch of $ in rent so I can spend it on nice things for me and my fish... oh yeah, and Daughter.

It's a hard call. I keep saying, "Oh one more year here.. it's so cheap!" But then I wish I didn't have such a terrible landlord, and the heater and oven worked, or he'd fix stuff when asked to, and so on.

As the deadline draws near, I'm getting more uncertain about paying more rent.. potentially a LOT more rent.. and having not much left to enjoy life with. We live so frugally as it is, I can't bear to go back to extreme budgeting as we used to, just to get by.

Forgive me for having a whinge. I just .. want my pinchy damn shrimp and big-gobbed bettas, because.. I deserve them.

No more whining, I promise! Happy thoughts! It'll all be worked out, one way or another, in just a few weeks. Until then, I can research NPTs some more, and maybe add to my "tub-o-fish-stuff" for when that and the macro tank are actually happening. :)
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Old 06-07-2012, 12:15 PM   #93 
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So here's another version of my pictoral wishlist, just so I can keep dreaming:

Breeding Pair of Macrostoma



And maybe the relatively peaceful and pretty Macrobrachium handschini. in the first pic below.
OR the much more aggressive Macrobrachium bullatum, in the second pic.



Love those macros! <3
Attached Images
  

Last edited by Aus; 06-07-2012 at 12:18 PM.
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:30 PM   #94 
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I'm a bit excited today.. last night I found a Dymax IQ5 for sale quite cheap - around the corner from my place! It comes with extras, plants, driftwood. No lid, but I can buy one of those pretty cheaply..

It's so early it's not even properly light out yet, lol, and I'm fidgeting to call the seller to ask if it's sold yet. If not, that baby's mine! Shrimp tank, here we come!

Daughter wanted it for Cole because they are nice-looking tanks, but Cole is in for 5+ gallons, once we figure out what we're doing, house-wise. He seems content enough in the 3 gallon keeper for now, and it's much better than a little cup! But yeah, he needs more room than that, for sure. He seems frustrated patrolling his tank, I can't really describe how.. he just does. I don't feel that from either of our other fish, but they are about half his body mass (or in Demyx's case, probably less than that).

I joined an Australian fish forum to get some advice on the long-armed shrimp (also called 'river prawns', which I like so much better, so let's call them that now..lol) and one of the posters linked me to a video of her M. handschini river prawns - a really beautiful tank with some native/almost native (New Guinea) fish in it. And the prawns are fun to watch.

**Pinchy River Prawn Video Link**

They grow to about 5cm (2 inches?), so will need to go into the NPT.. BUT if I get this IQ5, I'll probably get one M. bullatum, which is even more aggressive, and keep him in there as a kind of test run.. the M. handschini are a lot more sensitive, too, so I'll try the easier species first.

Like I said, excited..
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Old 06-08-2012, 03:41 PM   #95 
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Wow Aus! This journal is amazing~ I love your drawings and the poems you post :) it took a while to read all ten pages, but wow, you've definitely been bitten by the betta bug X)

Cleo sounds like a fierce huntress... All shrimps beware. Are you sure demyx isn't fin bitting? Some of mine are super sneaky about it, and they bit it in ways that makes it look more like if rot than anything else, except without the black or white tips. And cold sounds magnificent! My Panache is rather a small boy for a hmpk, and while he's a sweetie, he doesn't seem anywhere near as fierce or active as cole!
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:11 AM   #96 
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Thank you, JK. :)

And yes, bitten hard, I'm afraid.. and in more than one way! My hand got a serious upbraiding when I tried to fish out a soggy leaf today. It was a full-out attack, rapid fire! She looked so cross afterwards, and patrolled her tank like mad. The epitome of a feisty little Thai lady...

Yes, Demyx is a fin-biter, I've caught him at it. He mainly bites his dorsal fin, which I thought was a bit strange..until I realised that it's so full and flappy, it gets in the way of his food when he 'circles' it. I'm careful to feed him right in front of his nose now, which seems t be helping. His dorsal fin is half gone, it looks awful. But I am seeing slight bits of new, pale webbing in some of the tatters on his tail and dorsal. The no-salt, clean-water-only 'treatment' appears to be working quite well. I can't see any rot, whereas before the salt I did see some nasty edges and deep 'melt' that wasn't a bite.. so I'm supposing the rot has been effectively dealt with. And the java moss and wisteria is a hit, perhaps he feels more secure. He is such a fraidy-fish! I have to wonder if insecurity was not helping with the biting, also.

And yes, Cole is very handsome! He's still looking rather put out about his tank size. I'm looking for a larger tank for him, and a new stand as the old one isn't sturdy enough for any more weight. There's often some really nice second hand ones for sale on the net, so the search is on. Daughter is doing well in caring for him, though I still help with the weekly tank rinse.

Sadly, the cheap IQ5 was sold. Ah, well. The 'river prawn project' will just have to wait.. I'm terribly inspired by aokashi's planted jars, though. I'm thinking a 3 or 4 gallon one of those would look marvellous on my desk. A bit of fine mesh and a big rubber band would do for a lid, since they like to climb out and go on prawnish adventures, apparently. Small heater - they are tropically sourced, but the same species lives down here where the winters get mighty cold.. I'm thinking an undergravel pad heater would probably do for warmth, as they don't need the high temps bettas do. An airstone ought to take care of oxygenation, which they do need. Small bioload + heavy planting = small water changes. And my desk would be so much brighter for it! Just ideas. But this is quite appealing...

I've started house-hunting. I hate moving, I really do. I have way too much stuff and no car.. Anyway, I did find a few suitable pet-friendly places not too far from here, for the same rent I pay now or not much more, plus an extra bedroom!, so perhaps we can have another friend move in to share the costs. I'll be calling them all tomorrow... It'd be nice to feel more settled, and thus confident to set up some more tanks.

I was so worried at the beginning about being able to deal with water changes, etc, physically. But even when I'm ill and sore and limping around like a rheumatic granny, I can easily maintain the three tanks we have. Did I mention that I hate moving? I am filled with dread and trepidation, just thinking about it. But having the wherewithal to keep some larger tanks that I'll not fear having to tear down for a long time is a great motivating force. That, and the shaky-looking ceilings here...

Omgosh.. I sucked one of the 'Zoidbergs' (as the shrimp are now called, thanks to Daughter) up into the siphon while gravel-vac'ing. It was 'Mister' of course, who has no fear at all.. the others had the sense to hide up the back of the tank. Fortunately, I saw him in the tube and dumped him out before he made it to the hose. Haven't seen him since.. I hope he's okay!
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:32 AM   #97 
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Quick update on Mr. Zoidberg: he's just fine, and as usual half-hidden under his favourite anubias leaf, snacking on wood gunk.

I got a rare of sighting of 'Baby Zoidberg' - a teeny little one about this long: '--' that I had expected to be a snack food by now. It seems to dwell inside one of the java moss balls, so I'll look there for it from now on.

I found this apparently amazing recipe for a DIY 'miracle' NPT substrate. I can get all the ingredients at Bunnings Warehouse, too.. Thinking of popping down there after the long weekend to stock up on the ingredients to put in the 'handy fish stuff' tub, just so I have them handy to give it a try. The results really are amazing, so looking forward to giving it a shot in the NPT.
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Old 06-09-2012, 12:54 PM   #98 
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This poem by Richard Brautigan is adorable and a bit sad, all at once:

Your Catfish Friend

If I were to live my life
in catfish forms
in scaffolds of skin and whiskers
at the bottom of a pond
and you were to come by
one evening
when the moon was shining
down into my dark home
and stand there at the edge
of my affection
and think, "It's beautiful
here by this pond. I wish
somebody loved me,"
I'd love you and be your catfish
friend and drive such lonely
thoughts from your mind
and suddenly you would be
at peace,
and ask yourself, "I wonder
if there are any catfish
in this pond? It seems like
a perfect place for them."
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Old 06-09-2012, 02:50 PM   #99 
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OOh I found some pics I forgot I had..

And just to illustrate that when I say 'Demyx has abnormally large fins for his body mass' I am not exaggerating (and sorry for the pic quality, of all our fish he is the worst to photograph.. ):

This is when he first got home. He was so tiny.. those 'rocks' you see? Those are regular gravel pebbles, the size you usually get with fancy coloured gravel. His fins don't look so huge there.. they were pretty full, but he was just a baby, I think.




Compared to this, taken a couple months later.. and now, this IS a dreadful quality pic. But you can see the little white tips of his ventral fins down the bottom, and the massively long anal fin compared to the dark blob that is his teeny little body:



And this is about when he started biting his fins. I honestly think he just struggles with hauling it all around.

Oh - lol, and to put his teeny-tininess in perspective - that's a regular sized leaf hammock he's gliding over.. o.O

Last edited by Aus; 06-09-2012 at 02:53 PM.
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Old 06-10-2012, 11:28 AM   #100 
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I found a very decent betta-related poem! Yay! (though I want to strangle the boy in the poem, and I do hope he's fictional..). The poem's author is Stacie Cassarino.


Goldfish Are Ordinary

At the pet store on Court Street,
I search for the perfect fish.
The black moor, the blue damsel,
cichlids and neons. Something
to distract your sadness, something
you don't need to love you back.
Maybe a goldfish, the flaring tail,
orange, red-capped, pearled body,
the darting translucence? Goldfish
are ordinary
, the boy selling fish
says to me. I turn back to the tank,
all of this grace and brilliance,
such simplicity the self could fail
to see. In three months I'll leave
this city. Today, a chill in the air,
you're reading Beckett fifty blocks
away, I'm looking at the orphaned
bodies of fish, undulant and gold fervor.
Do you want to see aggression?
the boy asks, holding a purple betta fish
to the light while dropping handfuls
of minnows into the bowl. He says,
I know you're a girl and all
but sometimes it's good to see.

Outside, in the rain, we love
with our hands tied,
while things tear away at us.
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