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The Magic Nursery

Posted 2010.01.03 11.55 in Aquaria by Stephanie

I’ve started to believe my nursery tank is magic. In the last 3 weeks, almost everything that’s gone in there has thrived and grown. On December 13th there was Les the zebra danio, one or two baby corydora catfish who weren’t particularily doing well, and a handful of baby apple snails who were also just sort of hanging on. Oh and a little dying plant that consisted of one stem and a few suffering leaves.

Then I changed the substrate from chunky gravel to fine sand. In doing so, I believe I lost the corydora fry because they were hiding in the black gravel so I couldn’t separate them from it. Before removing the gravel, I had taken Les, the plant, and the handful of apple snails and put them in a cup, to spare them the trauma of the substrate change.

All that was December 13th. Since then, I’ve added two egg-clutches worth of baby apple snails, tossed in a dozen or so corydora eggs, and generally just hoped for the best.

Since then, the plant has gone absolutely nuts – the dying bit did die off but before that, it shot off a bunch of shoots and now it’s bigger than it’s ever been, ever! There are two corydora fry that are both over a half inch long – cute little goofs always snarfling about the sand, or relaxing amid the zillion baby snails who keep growing and eating and growing.

In the lower right corner, under the heater, there was an algae wafer there yesterday. The babies pounced it and destroyed it, now they’re going after the vacation feeder block.

You can see some of the babies are a magnitude smaller than others – they are from two clutches, about a week apart. The bigger ones are 16 days old in this pic, the smaller ones about 7 or 8 days. Lots of golds, and the rest are ivory. It’s freaky but with their light shells and light bodies, you can see their little hearts beating when they’re travelling right-to-left. All just a little mess of wee feet and tentacles. Very cute.

Aquarium Update #1 – Snail Tank

Posted 2009.11.09 9.05 in Aquaria by Stephanie

My 38-gallon aquarium, aka the Snail Tank, is where my apple snails live, along with some friendly fish. Not that I think people want to read all the nitty gritty details of my aquarium, so this is more or less for me, so if my memory goes, I will have something to refer back to.

The Snail Tank

There’s five apple snails in there right now. Speed Racer is my original snail, he (or she) is also the biggest. Then Big Blue, whom I am certain is a female, has been with me second-longest. Little Buddy is like a little brother or cousin to Speed Racer, and is definately male. Shelly is a pretty golden girl. And then the most-recent addition, a little golden male who doesn’t have an official name yet. I call him Munchkin though cos he’s kind of cute.

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Corydora Kitten Cat Fish!

Posted 2009.10.24 11.53 in Aquaria by Stephanie

OMG – this morning I was sitting around trying to think of some good ways to procrastinate on my chores, when I noticed something small, dark and wriggly scooting along just above the gravel in my aquarium.

I moved in for a closer look, and to my shock there was a wee little teeny tiny Peppered Cory catfish! A baby catfish!

A kitten fish! Squeeee!

Cory Kitten Fish

My two corydoras have been mating like crazy for what seems like at least two months, but I didn’t think anything had come of it – the eggs looked like duds, and they all get eaten within a few days. So this was totally unexpected!

The little baby is about 1/2 inch long, I don’t know how old that would make it, and I don’t know if there might be others. It’s obviously done a very good job at hiding, to have survived to get to this size.

It looks just like the parents, except in miniature.



Posted 2009.08.25 12.38 in Pointless Blather by Stephanie

I’ve got a lot of things I want to write about at the moment, but just haven’t had time to actually get things written the way I want them to. I’ve a few articles in draft-mode but they’re not good enough yet to post. So, playing catch-up a bit, here’s the headlines, details to follow.

Why are DSLRs so damn big? My old manual 35mm camera is like half the size and 3/4 the weight of the new digital SLR. The old SLR captures an image 1.6x the size of the new camera, has more moving parts, is more mechanical, yet its smaller, lighter and more portable. Not just the body, but the lenses too. WTF is that all about? Why are cameras so big and chunky now? And what really boggles is the pros on saying cameras like my Canon Rebel are ‘too small’ and they need a bigger camera to get a good grip on it. Craziness!

Manual Focus Screen! Yesterday I received my Haoda split-ring manual focus screen that I ordered recently. I guess when they invented auto-focus they decided nobody needed the manual focus aids any more. Wankers. The Haoda screen works great, it took some fiddling to get it installed — and that was kind of hairy, working in the business-end of my brand-new camera. However, with the Haoda screen my DSLR finally feels like a real camera when I look in the viewfinder.

MD to EOS adaptor: I found this on eBay. It’s a little metal ring that fits into Canon EOS cameras, and lets you attach Minolta MD manual lenses. Handy because I have some Minolta lenses from my old X370. They’re good glass, and particularily I have macro gear for the Minolta that I don’t have with the Canon. The only MD thing that didn’t fit was my 3x Macro Teleconverter, but I was able to take it apart and remove the bits that were in the way. They weren’t part of the optics but were part of the Minolta metering system. So, now the teleconverter works on the Canon (with the adaptor) but no longer works on the Minolta. Well, it works but without metering info. So I guess it works equally well now on both systems.

Eggless Snails: My big blue snail spent almost two weeks climbing out of the water every night looking for a place to lay eggs. Then she just stopped, and hasn’t laid any eggs. So I don’t know what the deal is. Was she teasing me? Did she not really have eggs and was just bored? Or is she egg-bound and about to keel over dead for no obvious reason? I sincerely hope it’s not that last thing. No idea though what’s what, and I hope there are eggs sooner or later – wee baby snails are cute!

Zebrafish: My zebra danios are looking fantastic, in only 3 months or so they’ve really grown and matured. The biggest one, Shifty, has developed long pretty fins which surprised me – I thought they were a ‘plain’ variant, and when I bought them they certainly weren’t very showy. They have been breeding a lot but not a single baby has survived. Eggs and fry are very popular snacks among the fish.

Betta Sorority: I’ve got some female bettas and I don’t remember if I wrote about them or not. I originally bought 5 of them to go in the 38gal with the snails, but it turned out two of them were very nippy (biting snail tentacles) so I moved the bettas into the 23gal tank with the danios, and moved the harlequins (4 of them) from the 23gal to the 38gal. Unfortunately one of the betta gals was sick when I got her (fish stores are so poorly lit you can hardly see the fish till you get them home) and she died shortly after I got her, and then of the 4 who I moved to the 23-gal, one of them couldn’t handle the stress of moving and she passed 2 days after the move. The remaining 3 seem to be managing ok.

Happy Catfish: The two corydoras catfish who originally moved to the 38gal with the snails are doing ok and have started breeding. Every 2 or 3 days I find a dozen eggs, but then hours later the eggs are gone. I don’t know who is eating them, but someone likes fresh catfish eggs.

WTF Do Corydoras Eat?

Posted 2009.08.05 9.04 in Aquaria, Photography by Stephanie

I have these two cute Peppered Corys (Corydoras paleatus) in my 23 gallon aquarium. Originally I got just the one, but I quickly saw how lonely he was getting. He would try and play with the zebra danios, but they would simply ignore him. So I added a second, and they have been best friends ever since. The original is slightly smaller and his name is Doctor Pepper, the second is a bit larger and is named Sergeant Pepper. Anyhow, I’ve been trying to figure out what to feed them, what they actually eat.

Doctor Pepper

According to Wikipedia, “Corys are mostly bottom feeders, so they should be offered sinking pellets as well as supplements of live and frozen foods.” Having read this, I’ve bought special sinking catfish food pellets for them, and I supplement with freeze-dried whole foods (blood worms, brine shrimp.) Yet I’ve never seen them eat these things. The pellets are utterly ignored, until the snails find them. The freeze-dried foods never seem to reach the bottom, everyone else goes nuts for them.

So my two corys spend all their time scrunging around for food, and they don’t seem to be starving, but I can’t tell what exactly they’re eating. Sometimes they scrunge the glass walls, but according to several sources, corydoras don’t eat algae! The only thing I have definately seen them eat, is Sergeant Pepper once ate a tiny squished planorbid snail. The aquarium is infested with some species of planorbidae and consequently they frequently meet with ‘accidents’ that result in them becoming fishfood. I already knew the zebra danios ate them and now I know that the corys eat them too.

But other than this one tiny snail, what the heck are my corys eating?

Sergeant Pepper

It’s a mystery.