Central American biotope (ish)

Discussion in 'Members Systems' started by Nina_W, Feb 18, 2021.

  1. Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    A couple years back I found myself utterly fed up with the unending maintenance and frustration that was my blue ram community aquarium. I wanted a much simpler setup, one where I can change water with my tap water, one that's much more "natural" than my very cultivated stem-pruning setup needed to stay looking reasonably good.

    ...and I wanted a biotope setup again, where all the fish come from the same part of the world, where you could reasonably go swimming and come across my aquarium.

    A bit of reading and hunting around had me stumble upon rainbow cichlids. It wasn't love at first sight. But, they would live in my tap water, would fit in my allowed aquarium space (hands up, everyone with an unsympathetic spouse) and I could quite easily do "muddy bottom", having discovered natural planted tanks a while back. They'd even let me grow plants, which, stem-pruning burnout notwithstanding, I do very much like to do.

    And tankmates are surprisingly doable also - swordtails (though finding wild type took a little searching) and a bristle nosey and we're golden.

    So, when the last pair of rams died off, I switched over.

    ...it may not have been love at first sight, but it certainly was love. Five years on from that decision point I can happily see myself keeping rainbow cichlids forever.

    Until a month ago, everything was pretty amazing. Then my heater heated everything to over 40C and killed so many fish. I was left with one rainbow and a bunch of swords.

    I'm getting a new group of rainbows tomorrow, and I've already gotten a new bristlenosey. Here's where we stand.

    IMG_3550 (2).JPG

    IMG_3590 (2).JPG

    I am strictly allowed 90cm of aquarium space - this is 90cm by 45cm by 45cm, about 170 liters. Aqueon filter and heater, LED lights, dirt under a pool filter sand cap.

    Mostly plants found in CA - with two exceptions from Asia that I won't point out :p

    I wish I had great rainbow pics for you, but he's not at his best, being all alone - a single rainbow is not a brightly coloured rainbow, after all - and he decided he's feeling woefully camera shy. So, you'll have to deal with this, and live in hope with me that come the others tomorrow, things will perk up. His name's Spock, by the way. He and Kirk had the aquarium divided before the great boil. He's a big boy, for a rainbow, 13 cm long.

    IMG_3628(2).JPG

    I have better bristlenosey pics.
    IMG_3552(2).JPG

    Haven't named him yet, but here he is, doing what they do best.
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    And I have pretty great swordtail pics :) You have to appreciate the colours on their wild type form.

    IMG_3557(2).JPG
    My biggest remaining female, with entourage.

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    A smaller gal, with the last remaining cory from the ram days, that somehow, is still trucking even after the heatwave.

    IMG_3615(2).JPG
    My big boys are gone, but my little dudes will be big soon enough, and are quite pretty anyway.

    IMG_3597(2).JPG

    I have one last survivor from the ram times, a gourami, who is, by gourami standards, positively ancient. She must be ten years old. She can stay as long as she likes.

    IMG_3556(2).JPG
    Her name's Dotty. She's the only fish my little girl knows by name.

    IMG_3633(2).JPG
    That's my little slice of happy, my little central american(ish) pond.
     
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  3. MariaS

    MariaS Moderator

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    Hi @Nina_W

    Yew... I see you have been on the forum for a long.. long time... but i dont recall seeing posts from you so....thank you for sharing and nice to see our older members active!!

    In so sorry to hear, i think between a cracked tank and a heater that goes pea rshaped its one of our biggest fears

    Love the rainbow cichlid, glad you managed to get some again
    Have they ever bred?


    Beautiful tank!
     
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  4. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    Thanks.

    My foruming goes through phases, I tend to pop up when I can't find something (or when I wanted to sell an aquarium). The forum itself went through a very quiet phase, also. Life is complicated, I have found I want my aquarium to be simple, and spending time on here has me hankering for all sorts of more complicated things :p But I do love seeing everyone else's fish, and I like sharing mine with people who appreciate it. I guess it doesn't change much, over time, and big changes like a bunch of new rainbows is rare.

    Yep, they bred, which is why I'm not giving solid numbers. I had about five adults, the two big males, Kirk and Spock, and three bigish females, who they would wife swap like some sort of cult group. I'd fish out babies if they'd become a problem, but the non-mating rainbows and the other fish kept the numbers low enough to just give to a local shop once a year.
     
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  5. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    I absolutely loved reading through your story and hope you continue with the tank thread :thumbup:

    I love pearl gouramis, lost mine to columnaris earlier on in the hobby before a QT, always thinking I should get another group. For the 1,5m
     
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  6. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Wow @Nina_W love your set up. Finger's crossed for your rainbow cichlids coming in tomorrow. It's the first time I've seen swords from the wild and I must say they are stunning. My dad used to keep gouramis and had one live for about 15years so I'm not surprised you have one living that long. It goes to show you've kept them in good care
     
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  7. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    I think it's really luck relating to fish health, but I do try to keep things stable. Water changes are the way :)

    Just to be clear, these are not wild swordtails - just wild type swords, as in, they look like their ancestors, and haven't been line bred (and hybridised with platies) into some other colour or shape.
     
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  8. Shabir

    Shabir

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    totally agree here. We keep the water which then keeps the fish


    Okay I understand what you meant. Still awesome little fish
     
  9. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Also loving the wild type swords! Looking forward to seeing the new rainbows in :thumbup:
     
  10. Reedfish

    Reedfish Moderator

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    @Nina_W

    Fantastic looking tank :thumbup:
    And really like the Swordtails
     
  11. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    My little rainbows are here, and seem to be very happy in the jungle they find themselves in. Five little guys, and Spock is swimming around like a new fish - he's still quite dark, but clearly feeling much happier. Gosh they look so small, even though they're about 5cm ish big. I'll get some pictures tomorrow, give them a day to settle in, and Spock a day to get some yellow going on.
     
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  12. Shabir

    Shabir

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    So exciting!! Looking forward to seeing them
     
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  13. Mike Roos

    Mike Roos

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    Love the biotype and especially the wild green swords!!
     
  14. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    Little rainbows, anyone?

    They spend a lot of time hanging about in a loose school in between the plants. All five are here, one is just a tailfin in the back. Not much for "stand still and pose, silly fish".

    IMG_3698 (2).JPG


    As you can see, they look like little rainbows - sort of green, pretty effective camouflage.

    I managed to get individual pics of the five, I haven't named them yet, but as they distinguish themselves at least some of them will get names. Here's "medium 3/5"
    IMG_3670.JPG

    Then, there's big galumping munch-machine, mister 5/5 - biggest of the littles. This dude (likely a dude, given how he's bigger, but I've been surprised before, and I actually have no real idea of sex yet)
    IMG_3675.JPG

    See that belly? That belly is more than just breakfast. That belly is a balanced diet of every small thing that fits in his mouth, including more than a few baby swordtails.

    IMG_3678.JPG

    And he has attitude too - the only one who doesn't just run when the camera comes out, but stuck around to check me out as I check them out.

    Last one of this guy, bold little tyke, flaring away at Dotty. Dude, she's too big to care about you - you remind me of my pomeranian dog when you do this. Chill.

    IMG_3693.JPG

    Next up is little shy one, 1/5, the smallest small. Here amongst the swords, blending in as best they can. "I am inviiiiisible!!!"

    But also a pleasing yellow colour. You do you, little one. (Oh lordy I swear I wiped my glass! Where does it all come from? O_O )

    IMG_3683.JPG

    Smalley-small swims around a lot as well, but keeps a more camouflaged appearance for their public swims.

    IMG_3706.JPG

    Last two, second smallest, 2/5 - got some really nice iridescence on the fins, this one. Shiniest smally-small. Reddest eyes too, though that changes from moment to moment.

    IMG_3707.JPG

    And second biggest, 4/5, also the yellowest one most constantly.

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    Still no nice pics of Spock. I'm worried about him, he seems to be listing to one side as he swims. Active but, not quite 100% upright. Haven't seen him eat either. The new rainbows have him swimming about, but he's not bright as I was hoping, and the listing... ai, that has never boded well in the past.

    Here he is, hassling the heater (why? Wut? Dude!!)

    IMG_3715 (2).JPG

    And here is him from behind, showing him listing to the side. It's more noticeable when he swims, leaning to the side, sometimes twirling... looking 100% like a swim bladder thing. Gah, I hope this is just some temporary thing, and that he heals. But something in me looks at this and feels rather sad and bleak.
    IMG_3718 (2).JPG
     
  15. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    45498025_10156862456421202_5856671774816600064_o.jpg

    This is a long time ago, but gosh was he gorgeous at his best.

    C'mon fishy. Pull through.
     
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  16. HugBug

    HugBug

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    Wow, he's a totally different color now!
    Hopefully he rights up again soon.

    Gorgeous pics and fabulous descriptions of each of the fishes.
     
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  17. Shabir

    Shabir

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    Wow they are so stunning
     
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  18. A new day

    A new day Moderator

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    Ditto!
     
  19. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    One of my favourite aspects of rainbows is that, when they're happy, they change colour all the time (unless breeding, for those few weeks they stay bright orange male, black-belly female). They'd flash that intense sun-coloured yellow and then go almost mottled green, then dark, then yellow again all day long as they grazed/vied over who gets exactly which piece of food/argued over the finer points of territory/showed off to each other - the other fish in the old pic is actually my other male, Kirk, who was, at that exact moment, more interested in me than in trying to show Spock who's boss. Spocky's been dark before, but never sustained for more than a week. And the darn listing.

    I'll do another WC. Feel like I'm doing something to help.
     
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  20. HugBug

    HugBug

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    That's so cool!
     
  21. OP
    Nina_W

    Nina_W

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    New little fish have brought me a lovely case of whitespot. Off to get medicine tomorrow.

    But in much better news, Spock is upright! Swimming and eating. All great news. Ich I can treat - swim bladder not so much.
     
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