Angel Fish

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Qn: What do you do with bullying fishes?

Ans: You throw them back in jail.:)

For nearly a week now, Patches and Tinny had been dropping a few scales, and we couldn’t figure out the reason why. Their eating patterns had not changed, water parameters and quality were still pretty solid, and the other critters in the large and comfortable tank were alright. Until we finally saw for ourselves – Stripes had been secretly pecking the two Lionheads. And he’s supposed to be the less aggressive of the two Angels.

For some reason, Pig and Frilly are quick enough to swim away when Stripes comes near, but not Patches and Tinny. Short of sending the two Angels to permanent retirement i.e. down the toilet bowl in a fit of anger, the only real solution was to separate the species again. I’m out of spare tanks, so we had to move the inhabitants of tank 2 – Neonies and Leopards – to tank 1, and the Angels to tank 2. In relative comparison, one could say that tank 2 is like Hotel 81 and tank 1 is like Hotel Shangri-La.

So here’s a picture of Nibbler and Stripes looking very dejected in their substantially smaller jail cell again:


And a picture of the Topfin, Halffin, and Blackfin – three of the beneficiaries of Stripes’ misbehaviour.:)


Fishes can be like humans

… in that they sometimes just fight and attack each other viciously. That’s essentially what happened in our “prison cell” tank. The three fellows: Nibbler, Stripes and Aura initially existed pretty peacefully for a few months. Since the last few days however, Nibbler has started to viciously attack Aura, and the latter’s once beautiful fins are now in tatters. The poor fellow can’t swim properly, and isn’t expected to survive much longer – and I’m at my wits ends trying to separate the chaps.The Corys had their fair share of bad luck too. All three Peppered Cories and one Leopard passed on together within the space of a fortnight. One swam and got himself stuck behind the filter, and by the time we discovered him, his fins had been damaged beyond recovery. Three others died shortly after for reasons we still can’t figure out: testing revealed nothing to say that the water had gone bad.

The other fellows are still doing OK, fortunately. The ten tetras, two remaining Cories, and the four Lionheads – Ling’s prized possessions – are still as happy and jovial as ever. Sometime soon we’ll most likely get new companions for them to replace those who’ve passed on.

We’re Moving Again…?!

After quite a bit of consideration and decisions bouncing back and forth, we decided to swap tanks between the two Angels and ten Neonies. Nibbler and Stripes have been doing OK on their own in the old tank for 10 days now – they enjoyed a daily 50% water change and gravel cleaning to keep the ammonia and nitrite levels down – but we couldn’t keep them there long term.

We noticed as well that Nibbler and Stripes have grown noticeably in the 6 weeks we’ve had them. Neither had any difficulties on their move back to the two feet tank, and within minutes of the transfer were happily swimming about and enjoying dinner with the rest of their old mates.


The ten Neonies were a different matter though – it took them a while to get used to the new home which they now have to their own. Several of them took to having their dinner of bloodworms, but the rest seemed a little nervous. We’re hopeful they’ll settle in quickly into their new home.

Scary Angels are gone, so we’re out to play

With the two Angels gone for the time being, the Neonies now have all the freedom and space to explore the tank:


The injured Neonie seems to be recovering pretty all right and has rejoined the shoal. The entire group has also picked up feeding habits pretty quickly – by afternoon’s feeding, the Neonies were each making a dash from midlevels to the water surface to grab small floating flakes that the Lionheads were ignoring, then swimming back. It was quite a delight to watch them.:)

“Fish are friends, not food!”


Shark’s bait. :)

Poor poor Nibbler and Stripes were banished from the ‘garden of Eden’ … pity them in their new ‘home’ with hardly any amenities at all; no plants, no wood, to gravel, no garbage man, no romantic lighting…

We were really upset when they attacked the helpless neonies so mercilessly. It was their natural instinct as predators to go for their tetra preys. We had no choice but separate the two species. We are still scratching our heads over the future for these two ‘angels’. Any creative solution, folks reading this blog?

Sigh, it is a fish eats fish world yes… but no thanks, not in our paradise aquarium :)

Ling :)

Welcome to the Party (or Dinner)

Ling and I drove down to Balestier to look for our next species of fish to populate our tank. We had several choices, the only criteria in our mind being that the fish would need to be middle swimmers. We eventually decided on Neon tetras that were going for $0.20 each at both Nature Aquarium and Colourful. We picked ten from the latter, as Ling thought they looked healthier. Here’s the welcome party after we dipped the new fellows into the tank:


Nibbler seemed to take a particular interest in the Neons, and who knows what’s going on in his mind now.:)

Upon their introduction to the tank, the Neons promptly swam to Aura’s corner of the tank. Aura didn’t seem to mind at all. Here’s a picture when they did venture out to the front for a peek:


Bad Fish!

It didn’t take long before our two Angels started chasing and attacking the Neonies around the tank. Nibbler was the more aggressive fellow first, but Stripes started to follow his lead too. We had to separate the species when one of the Neonies got its tailfin partially bitten off by the Angels. So, we dug out the original tank, cleaned it and set it up, and put Stripes and Nibbler inside there.


With the two Angels (temporarily?) gone from the tank, the Neonies have appeared out of their hiding places and now have the full run of the tank. Unfortunately, this measure may be a mite too late for the injured Neonie – it has left the shoal; and that’s the first sign that the Neonie is severely distressed and may not live for much longer.

Now we have to decide what to do with Nibbler and Stripes. Their new aquarium is nothing like the Ritz-Carlton they were living in an hour ago of course – this new home is like Hotel 81 for them. And I guess they can’t really be blamed; Angelfishes are the natural predators of Tetras. We’ll figure out what to do in the coming days. Who knows – Nibbler and Stripes may have their own tank permanently after all now.:)

Confounding the Critters

As much delightful fun are the four Lionheads can be, they’re also quite turning into greedy herbivores. And as if on cue, even Nibbler and Stripes (our two Angels) have gotten into the habit too. Many of the plants we pick up for the tank have either been uprooted or ripped into little shreds. The only two fellows who haven’t turned the tank into a salad buffet spread are Aura and Otto. Their victim list includes Cambomba caroliniana, Limnophila sessiflora, Hygrophila polysperma, Egeria densa. The plant that fared the worst were Eleocharis acicularis, or hairgrass, that we were trying to cultivate.


These were planted into the substrate, but instead got systematically uprooted one by one. Over the course of several days, it became a bit of a tug-of-war between the critters and myself, where I would replant and the Lionheads and Angels would uproot. Ling even tried securing these onto a metal mesh; but the critters still somehow found a way to uproot several of the hairgrass elements.

Their more recent menu list have included several stalks of Limnophila sessiflora, which they continally ravaged over the course of a week. Hence, as a precursor to the plant rearrangement we’re doing tomorrow, all the sessifloras have been moved to a new spot right under the filter rainbar. This is what it looks like now (spot A):

2006-Aquarium-PICT1186-tank-version31 copy.jpg

Why there? Well…

– If the fishes must turn the plant into their salad buffet, at least they have to do it at the back of the tank and I don’t have to see them and get heart broken.
– Their main activity area has been their feeding spot at the top right corner of the tank. So, by separating this feeding area and their buffet table, it should make it less convenient for them to munch on their salad while waiting for me to feed them. Fishes are lazy to swim around too much, right?:)
– Lastly, there is slightly more water agitation near their salad table now. Maybe this will discourage them from eating the salad too much too.

At the same time, I took the opportunity to arrange Aura’s corner (spot B) a bit. It’s now better defined now that all the Limphonia hippuroides have been moved to his side and lined them all in a neat row like Sunset Boulevard.We’ll be putting in the two pieces of wood tomorrow, but we’ll try not to rearrange these two spots at least.