April, 2006

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To feed 24 critters

One of the most fasinacting aspects of keeping these critters is how they take to different types of food. Not surprisingly, most of the fishes we have in our two tanks have different preferences for what they eat, and in some cases won’t touch certain kinds of food altogether. Here’s a table of comparison for the 21 critters we have and what we’ve observed on their feeding habits.

Firstly, the food in comparison:


Clockwise from bottom left: ‘Futian’ dried bloodworms, ‘Jin Di’ sinking pellets, ‘Tetra’ goldfish pellets, ‘Aquafin’ flakes, ‘Hikari’ algae wafers.

Here are the results from our not terrifically scientific observations (click on it for a larger view).


Telling them apart

The posts several days ago identified the three Peppered Corys we’ve got. Here’s a picture that should help one tell Squint apart from Big Eye:


The critter in the foreground – with the slightly larger eyes – is Big Eye, of course. The fellow in the background is Squint.:)

I’ve noticed as well that Spot tends to stick to himself more often than these two. These two seemed to have become firm companions in the tank and are often swimming together about.

Tetra Companions

We were thrilled with how well the three Peppered Corys adapted to the large tank, so we decided to get a similar family of fish as the final additions for our second tank. We wanted to try a different species within the family, so it came to either Albino, Blue or Leopard Corys. The latter were the most expensive in the group, but they looked like darlings – and the decision was made when one of them winked at Ling at Aquatic Concepts.:)

Here are the three Leopards during their hour long acclimatization:


After having experienced difficulties distinguishing between the three Peppereds last week, this time, we asked the shopowner, Ivan, to help us choose ones that preferably could be told apart. Here’re the three fellows two hours after they were added into the tank.


Yep – they’ve setup their own catfish convention in one corner of the tank already.:)

More Adjustments to the Tank

In order to counter mild outbreak of white spot among the Lionheads that started 2 weeks ago, the aquarium fan was turned off and the water temperature allowed to adjust to the daily ambient temperatures of 29 to 31 degrees. A healthy dose of aquarium salt was also added.

The good news is that the white spot is almost gone. The bad news is that the water plants took a big hit both in the increased salt content of the water, and also generally higher temperature. A number of leafs and stems decayed during the two weeks, and had to be removed when we did a major maintenance of the tank the other night. Here’s what the tank looks like now, sans a number of plants:


The filter had been worked round the clock too; the amount of detrius and decomposed material that had been caught by the filter sponge was incredible, and loosening out the dirt in a pail of water turned everything inside it brown. Scary.

Introducing… Squint!

With two of the three Corys named, it was possible to tell the last fellow apart. Between the two Spot-ty Corys, one had bigger eyes than the other. That made naming the last critter easy – Ling called him Squint for its smaller eyes. Like Big Eye, it’s hard to tell the two apart from pictures alone – one has to see them in person and stare at them pretty hard.:)


Getting Band-ed

Tradition may say who should be the party to choose the wedding bands, but we figured since I’ve already chosen the engagement ring, Ling would get the say on the other one. So, for the month of March, we hunted around quite a bit for a pair that we liked. The bands were eventually found at Lee Hwa’s, at their outlet in Plaza Singapura. While both rings did not have diamonds (neither of us wanted any) and we wanted a plain design, they weren’t that inexpensive either.

The shop didn’t have our sizes, so we had to get them custom made. What was surprising was that even though we were advised it would take about 2 months for both rings to get made, they actually arrived much earlier: we got them in 3 weeks. Here’re both rings:


Introducing… Big Eye!

After figuring out Spot’s distinctive characteristic, the second of the three Corys Ling named was Big Eye. Between the two Corys, Big Eye has… well, bigger eyes. It’s hard to tell from the picture – but trust me, put next to the two Corys, any person would be able to tell him apart.:)


Introducing… Spot!

It can be quite hard to tell the three Corys apart. For starters, they’re all about the same size, each measuring 5 cm from head to tail fin. There are no discernable differences in the markings on their bodies either. However, while observing the habits of the three Corys just now, Ling discovered there are still subtle differences in their physical characteristics. So, over the next few days, I’ll be introducing each one of them. Each name is indicative of their distinctive characteristic, and Ling came up with all three names.

Here’s the first: Spot!


Of the three, Spot is the easiest to identify – his tail fin is spot-less. Ling initially wanted to call him Spotless, but that name’s a little clumsy. So we settled for Spot.:)

Case file #21042006

We came home this early evening to discover poor Patches had an accident and also been the victim of a vicious attack from one of his tankmates. Patches had gotten stuck in the branches of the Water wisteria, and when Ling helped him out also discovered that several of his fins, particularly his tail fin, had been bitten off. We weren’t sure who had taken the opportunity while Patches was stuck to take a few bites at him, but Ling suspected it was Nibbler – since Nibbler was pecking at Patches when she came into the room.

Here’s what poor Patches looks like now:


Patches is still quite alert and hasn’t lost his appetite for food, and I hope he’ll have a speedy recovery. Nibbler for the moment seems to have left him alone again, but if proof comes up again that it was Nibbler who has been attacking his tankmates, well… let’s just say that his punishment won’t be pretty.

Hungry Critters

The three Peppered corys seem to like their new home just fine, and have readily displayed all the lovable characteristics of their species: always scrounging the gravel for tasty morsels, occasionally socializing together in a little catfish convention, and making mad dashes to the surface to get a bellyful of air.


I do have a worry though, and it’s about feeding. The floating food I put into the tank gets cleaned out in seconds by the four Lionheads, Nibbler, Stripes and Aura – there are never any leftovers that get to sink to the gravel. I’ve also tried soaking flakes in a small cup of water so that they sink, but the four Lionheads are just too alert to any presence of food. By the time the Corys sense there’s food about – and they’re slow at it to begin with – most of the sunk flake pieces are gone.

I’ve also tried chopping Hikaru alage wafers into tiny bits. While these sink properly to the gravel, it doesn’t take long for the four Lionheads to sense there’s more food and start searching for them.

Quite a predicament. I’ll be monitoring their feeding habits for the next few days before deciding what to do.