Now that Christmas is over, I've taken down all our Christmas decorations (including the aquarium ones!). I put the fake bamboo plant back in the tank, and thought I would snap a few full-tank photos, since I haven't in a while. I've been cleaning the algae off all the surfaces except for the back glass pane, which is left for the nerites to clean. I must say, they don't do a very good job! I expected them to be better at cleaning up the algae, but that's okay. They're fun additions to the tank nevertheless.
Here are the two little ones following Clover.
And following Callisto.
The red spotted nerite snail, traveling across the glass.
Up until now, my two nerite snails (one zebra and one red spot) haven't laid any eggs in the tank, and I was hoping it might stay that way. But sure enough, during yesterday's water change I noticed a few tiny white spots on the glass... nerite eggs! Oh well. They are a little tough to scrub off, but they do come off. If you have an acrylic tank though, forget it! The scratches you'd inflict on the acrylic surface while trying to scrub these eggs off would not be pretty.
Here's a photo showing the relative size of the eggs.
In this photo you can see some snaily bite-mark tracks leading up to the egg.
Today marks the last day of quarantine for my two little butterflies. Ideally I would like to keep them in QT for a week or so longer, but current circumstances prevent that. Since this is the first Christmas my husband and I own a house, we're hosting a family get-together at our place, and we have to move the quarantine tub out of the dining room to make room for everyone. And since there's nowhere else it can go, that means QT will have to be over for the butterflies. In any case, no issues have come up during QT and the two fish both appear very healthy. During their QT period, they had one week in .3% salt, and finished four rounds of praziquantel, so that should have covered the most common parasites.
After the holiday hubbub has passed, I'll set up the 55 gallon tank for the two butterflies, but for now I'm putting them in the 75 gallon tank with my ryukins, Clover and Callisto. This is fine short-term, but eventually I do need to separate the two groups of fish. Not only are the butterflies on a different feeding schedule than the ryukins, but also the ryukins are much faster at finding and eating food than the butterflies are. If I left them all in the same tank long-term, it would be a constant battle trying to make sure the butterflies get their fill of food. Plus, I'd like for them to have as much water volume per fish as possible of course.
Goodbye QT tub!
Hello 75 gallon aquarium! As you can see, is still partially decorated for Christmas. I took out all the glass marbles and the glass trees, but left the frost and snowflakes on the outside. I just didn't want the butterflies to bump into anything while they were still adjusting to the new environment.
After putting the butterflies into the 75 gallon tank, I noticed that Felix had a small white spot on his tail, almost like excess slime coat was built up there. I swabbed it with hydrogen peroxide as soon as I noticed it, and I'm going to have to watch closely to make sure it doesn't become a problem. That's the trouble with using a tub (even a clear one) for quarantine. It can be sometimes difficult to spot issues like this because of the clouded side view and the poor lighting. Hopefully the spot doesn't turn into a bigger problem. I also noticed that both Felix and "Sophie" have numerous breeding tubercles all over the first and second rays of their pectoral fins! "Sophie" even has a few on the gill covers! So I guess they are both male, and "Sophie" will need a name change. I decided on Luca for his new name, because I like it. :)
That's it for now, I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and New Years!
Quarantine for the butterflies has been uneventful (that's always a good thing!). I've started feeding them Repashy Spawn and Grow and I think they prefer the taste of this over the Soilent Green. I like to toss in a big cube and watch them tear pieces off like tiny little sharks! Okay, so the cube of gel food is actually not really big... it's
mouth-sized for Clover and Callisto, my two ryukins. But the
butterflies are so tiny that it seems like a really big cube of gel food! Yesterday Sophie nibbled on my hand for the first time while I was doing a water change. These two have never really acted afraid of human presence, but they still kept their distance. But now I think they're already starting to associate my hands with food. And people say goldfish only have a 3-second memory... please! Today Sophie actually started nibbling at the gel food while it was still in my hand; it was very cute. She's already almost trained to hand-feed!
Here's a fun little video of them drifting about in the quarantine tub. Just imagine that the hardwood floor showing through the clear tub bottom is actually a Japanese wooden basin, like this (art by Riusuke Fukahori).
I've been really thinking about where to put these two once their quarantine period is over. I want them moved out of the QT tub by Christmas because we're having a lot of family over to our house and I think being in a tub on the floor with lots of people and dogs walking (more like stomping!) around would be stressful for them. But I don't yet know where to put them. I can put them in my 55 gallon tank, but it has a noisy gurgling overflow box problem that I want to fix first, especially seeing as my visiting family would be sleeping within hearing range of the tank. I don't want to put the butterflies in the 75 gallon tank with Clover and Callisto because I want to keep them separate for feeding schedule reasons. I suppose I can just put them in the 75 gallon tank for now, and use a floating colander to feed them apart from the ryukins, until after Christmas when I can get their 55 gallon tank set up. That's probably what I'll end up doing.
red spot nerite snail has discovered the Christmas trees! He was
zooming around eating diatoms on a couple of them yesterday.
I decorated my tank for Christmas, I wiped away all the algae and
diatoms so it would look nice in the photos and videos. Well after that,
the diatoms started coming back, but only in small patches here and
there. So now the snails have gotten much more inventive in finding
good spots to graze!
Things continue to go well for the two new butterflies! On Thursday they finished their first round of prazi, and since then they were in-between doses (when treating for flukes you must allow a few days between doses for the fluke eggs to hatch; they won't hatch with prazi present). Today I dosed their second round of prazi, and there was no reaction from them whatsoever- good! I've also been maintaining the salt level at .3% and they've been doing great with that. They're very active, eating well, and their waste looks healthy and normal. I added a heater to the QT tub today because it's near a window and I was having a hard time keeping the temperature where I wanted it. But the heater should help a lot with that. After a few days of pondering, I finally decided on names for them! The white one is Sophie and the red/white one is Felix. Felix means lucky or fortunate, which is very fitting seeing as they survived the shipping incident. And I've always thought Sophie sounds like a pretty and delicate name, which is so fitting for the white butterfly because she is so... well, pretty and delicate!
There is not much else to report! They're still just being their cute little selves.
Today the two butterflies are still doing great! I placed my first order with Tasty Worms to get some Repashy Spawn and Grow to feed these guys so I can promote their proper growth. For now they're doing well on their diet of Soilent Green, Saki-Hikari, and frozen bloodworms.
I decided they had settled in well enough now for me to weigh them and measure their body lengths so I can track their growth over time. I measured length as body length, which means I excluded the tail. Goldfish tail fins are so variable in length that including the tail in the measurement doesn't provide very useful information about the fish. The white fish weighs 35 grams and is 2.25 inches long and the red/white fish weighs 30 grams and is 2.25 inches long. I'm not surprised that although their lengths are the same, the white fish weighs more; because the white one has a more round and full body than the red/white one does.
Since I was already handling them for weight and length measurements, I also took the opportunity to check their vents to determine gender. They're still pretty young, so it's hard to tell for sure, but I think the white one is a female and the red/white one is a male. The white fish has a rounder vent indicating she may be a female, while the red/white fish has a slim and elongated vent indicating he may be a male. I'm very happy that I appear to have gotten one male and one female because I'd like to breed these two fish and raise some butterfly fry in the future!
After adding the prazi and .1% salt yesterday, I was worried because it seemed to agitate the butterflies a little. But today they are doing perfectly well! They seemed really curious about my presence when I was near their tub, and they were swimming around energetically all day long. They like to follow one-another around and peck at things; it's very fun to watch them.
I tested the water and saw there was again some residual ammonia from the tap water that hadn't been processed by the beneficial bacteria yet (my tap water has 1 ppm ammonia in it). But everything else looked good. In place of doing a water change today, I just added a fresh dose of Prime to keep that ammonia detoxified until the bacteria can take care of it. After that, I brought the salt level up to .2% and the butterflies didn't even flinch. I'm going to bring the salt level up again to .3% in a few hours. I'll maintain a salt concentration of .3% for at least 3 weeks to make sure I've rid them of as many parasites as possible. At the same time, I'll be doing 4-6 rounds of prazi which will take care of gill and body flukes. Then QT will be over for them!
Today I fed them Saki-Hikari early in the day and then in the evening they got their first bloodworms. They loved the bloodworms! I was pleased to see the white butterfly ate everything today without spitting anything out. I wonder if she was spitting the food out before because she was being irritated by flukes, which are now greatly reduced in number thanks to the prazi. Or it could have been that she was just a little stressed out still from shipping and being in such a new environment. Either way, she is eating better now, so I'm happy!
Today marks the third day of quarantine for my two new butterflies! Yesterday the water parameters were: ammonia 0, nitrite 0, nitrate 5, and pH 7.8. I'm happy to see that the cycled media I took from my main tank has given the quarantine tub a perfect instant cycle! After testing the water yesterday I did a 50% water change. I tested the water again today and all the parameters were the same except ammonia, which was .25. That ammonia is probably residual from the ammonia in the tap water added during yesterday's water change (my tap water has about 1 ppm ammonia in it). Since a dose of Prime detoxifies up to 1 ppm of ammonia for 24-48 hours, it's not a problem. After testing the water today I did a 60% water change to freshen the water and keep the nitrates under 10 ppm. At first I was a little worried that the water changes would stress the butterflies, but they actually don't seem to notice much at all! In addition, they don't seem to be afraid of my hands. They don't come up and nibble on my hands like Clover and Callisto (my ryukins) do, because apparently they haven't yet learned to associate human hands with food and feeding time. It will be interesting to see how long it takes before they begin to make that connection!
Yesterday I fed them their first bites of Repashy Soilent Green gel food and I noticed the white fish kept taking pieces into her mouth, "chewing" on them for a while, spitting them out, and repeating this over and over. Each time she spit them out, the pieces were smaller, so she was clearly ingesting some of it. After a few times of doing this though, she gave up on those pieces of food and the red/white fish came over and ate them. Next I tried giving them some Saki-Hikari pellets and the white fish ate those without spitting any out, so I figured she just wasn't used to the texture of gel food and would take a while to get the hang of it. Again today I fed them some Saki-Hikari pellets and the white fish did the same thing with the pellet food today that she did with the gel food yesterday. First she ate about 4 pieces without spitting anything out. But then with the next 3 pieces she picked up, she started chewing and spitting them out. They got smaller each time, so again, she was ingesting some. Eventually she stopped trying to eat them and swam away, and then the red/white one came over and ate what was left. I'm a little worried that the white fish doing this, but for now I'll just keep an eye on it. It's not like she isn't eating at all, so I don't think it's a dire situation at this point.
After today's water change I decided to start their praziquantel treatment to kill gill and body flukes. I'm using Aqua Prazi and I plan on doing 4-6 rounds of it (for more information about QT treatment procedures, you can see my guide to quarantine procedures). I'm also going to treat them with .3% salt at some point, but today I wanted to start with the prazi alone because I'm a worry-wart and I don't want to add too many potential stressors at once. After adding the prazi today, both the fish (but the white one in particular) seemed slightly agitated and were darting around a little bit rather than swimming at a normal pace. I take that to mean they had a few flukes on them, and the prazi killing off the flukes is causing a bit of irritation. I think tomorrow I'll add .1% salt to help ward off infection at the micro-wounds left by the dead flukes.
*Edited to add: I thought better of it and added .1% salt to the tank tonight rather than waiting until tomorrow.
Even though I haven't been able to tell the gender of either fish yet, I've already started thinking of the white one as female and the red/white one as male. I don't know why; I think their body shapes just strike me as such! I tried looking at their vents, but the plastic tub offers a pretty clouded side-view and their anal fins are very close together, covering up their tiny little vents too well for me to get a good view. In time I'll handle them to check their genders, but right now I want to keep handling to a minimum until I'm sure they're fully settled in and de-stressed from their long journey to get here.
Here are some photos of them from today!
I really need to decide on names for them! I have tons of ideas, but haven't settled on the right names yet.
I went to the post office this morning to pick up the package fully expecting the fish to be dead, since they had been in the box since Monday. I opened the package right there on the post office counter, and was pleasantly surprised to see a flash of red as the little red/white butterfly moved! They were both alive!
Now they're in the quarantine tub settling in and de-stressing from their long journey. The red/white butterfly seems strong and full of energy. The white
butterfly is a little more lethargic, but still moving around and seems
to be in pretty good condition. They are much smaller and way cuter than I thought they were going to be! I had to wrap some filter floss around the filter intake because the big Aquaclear 110 was a bit too powerful for the little guys. I'm so happy to have some butterfly telescopes in my life once again! <3