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Well. My orders have arrived. I've cycled my tanks. I've installed heaters, turned heaters off, had wrinkled hands and modified hoods and now my four tanks are set and running. Today was a good day.  There was a lot to do after. I used old gravel from my oscar tank to get the bacteria started in the new 20L which is now the home to a few new fish. A little cave was purchased, along with an airstone. The hood and such hadn't yet come so it kind of looked like this for a while...

Not too exciting. The blue theme was chosen for no particular reason. it looks nice. But I admit it's a little too much of a good thing. I really am never satisfied when it comes to aquascaping. My father supports my fish habit, so he usually insists on "color" for the tanks. My vision of color is a lot different than his. I enjoy more natural setups. He comes from the generation of neon pink rocks and skull decorations. No skulls in this tank.
Overpowered? You bet. This is a fantastic filter, I would not settle for less with fish that are rather pricey. I know this filter will take good care of them. Well. We purchased the hood and the filter arrived. I got some plants (plastic for now) allowed the tank to cycle. Checked the ammonia, did a 40 percent water change. Let it run some more. Checked the water again. It really helped that I had a lot of "dirty" filters to help the bacteria colony along. Here's how we stand now:

We got some barbs because, let's face it, as beautiful as the King Tigers are... they are very boring to watch. I'm not happy yet with the aquascaping. It's a little busy, but we'll work on that. I'm more concerned about giving these guys a good place to hide while they are transitioning to this tank. I'm running a neutral pH and a temperature around 80 F. The 10 gallon that was originally the King Tigers' home has gotten a slight makeover as well. An albino plec that was housed in a goldfish tank (not a good idea, I know) has found a better home in the 10.

Anyway, Ninety and Five are safe and sound in their final home.

They quickly found a corner to hide in after they took their drinking glass ride over to the new tank. Five's on the left, Ninety on the right.

Ninety's colors are nowhere near as muddy as Five's. She's also a lot more active.
03 May 2008 @ 05:21 am
After much confusion over what I had actually purchased, and the fear that I had been duped. I've discovered that my hopeful pair of plecos are indeed L333 - the King Tiger Pleco. Well, what the hell does that mean, exactly? If you're new to catfish in general, you may just think of them as silly little slimy fish with whiskers that people from the "deep Sawth" eat. Well, shame on you, indeed! I would never eat a catfish, at least not a Loricariid. Certainly not a pleco. They are far too majestic a creature.

A pleco... well... If you have ever been in the fish section of a pet store no doubt you have seen these little guys sucking on the glass. They are usually sold for so-called aquarium maintainence. Which is nice, if you actually get a store selling the proper pleco for the job. Don't get me wrong, some actually do eat algae and clean up the glass. But most are just poop machines and are put in an improper environment. Their keepers usually have no idea and so the little guys live far short of the 15-25 years some of these guys have been reported to live. And did I say little guys? Really. No. Some of these plecos get simply monstrous. And some stay a modest 3 inches or so in length.  

The common plecostomus (Hypostomus plecostomus):

Well, he's only about 12 inches right now. Yes, that's poop in the picture. That's what these guys do. A lot.

Ok, so what is the big deal anyway? Plecos come in all sorts of colors and patterns. Some look like old fatty up there, and some have elaborate fringe and patterns. Some are jet black with yellow spots. Others look like zebras with demonic red eyes. Others are disguised as sticks. Some plecos even look like aquatic porcupines!

Well, what do I have? What am I breeding and why and what will I do with my fry?

Calm down! My affection for plecos has been ever present. I think they are fascinating fish. They sail gracefully through the water and are rather social for something that seemingly just sticks to aquarium glass all day. I've seen wars and friendship between my plecs. Battles were fought and solved over a few algae wafers. These are great pets and are a piece of the wild in your tank. Most have elaborate patterns if you look close enough.

It wasn't until recently I understood why people would pay upwards of 100 dollars for one single fish. Not until I met L333. I purchased my pair at Uncle Ned's Fish Factory in Millis, MA. I saw them in the tank and was immediately drawn to their patterns. They were halloween fish. I mean, dark, deep brown with golden/orange stripes. So adorable. One of the clerks informed me that there was a pair and that of all plecos these were one of the easiest to breed. My brother, fellow aquarist and spender of money, encouraged me to make the purchase. I had to wait until I was paid. But we promptly drove back and I took my guys home in a bag. I got them for a steal. Only 95 dollars. I have temporarily named them Ninety and Five. I tell my father that this has only to do with the highway I drove on to get them. Sure. That's it. 
Five (Female):

Ninety (Male):

They are only about 3-4 inches now. Note that the female, Five, looks rather big. Females tend to look chunkier when viewed from above. And unlike 99 percent of the time, Ninety is actually out in the open. Male King Tigers tend to hide in a cave all their lives, only coming out for food, poop and sex. The sex part actually takes place back in his cave, but he has to chase the lady into it. What a stud. Five is a litle friendlier and tends to hang out in the open. 

So why breed? Why not. It's really the next step in the hobby. I want to help nature take its course and maybe share the offspring with people who may not get to see such a cool and rare pleco every day. Money... psh. I doubt I will even break even on this investment. I purchased a new tank and filtration system for these guys. I have yet to set it up, I'm still awaiting a few key pieces. They are hanging out in a ten gallon with two male guppies for now. The guppies can take the warmer waters L333's require, that's around 76-88 degrees. I keep the tank around 80, at least for now.

Well, I've babbled enough for now. I'll post an update when I have the tank at least set up. Have to cycle that sucker before anything live is going in it!