Saturday, October 13, 2007

I Got the Ich

This here is a happy kuhli loach, hanging out with a snail.

It it not the kuhli that died two days ago. That was a sad morning. I saved the body and showed it to Eric, My Fish Mentor. It had white spots on it. "Eesh," he said. "Ich."

But kuhlis are a kind of fish that don't have scales. "Maybe they're not white spots," I said.

"Yeah, maybe it just scraped itself. But keep an eye on your cichlids. If you see a spot on one of those, you need to treat."

This morning, there were spots on my ciclids. My firemouths, to be more precise. I have two firemouths (Thorichthys meeki). Pictured at left is the bastard firemouth, so called because until I changed the rocks up in the tank and got some driftwood, it bullied the other fish all to hell and was totally stressing the corner firemouth, so called because while he was being bullied he pretty much lived cowering in the corner, in the half inch behind the heater, treading water, snout down.

The bastard firemouth was a true bully, because as soon as I put my hand in there, he'd head for the hills. And he wouldn't come out until the hand left. But when the hand left? He renewed his attack on all the other fishes with extra piss and vinegar, nipping and butting and chasing like nobody's business.

I had pictured a kind of lazy Sunday morning, maybe grabbing a paper and heading over to Bramasole for breakfast. Instead, I inspected all the other fish, tested my parameters, read the instructions for the ich treatment I'd bought just in case, and then consulted with My Other Fish Mentor, Internet.

Ich, for those of you who don't know, is a parasite. The hotter the temperature, the faster the life cycle of the parasite. That is, until you hit 86F, at which point the heat kills the ich altogehter. At least that's what Internet said.

Instead of dumping chemicals in my tank, I did a 25% water change, which involves a contraption called a Python, lar lar. I vacuumed the gravel, replacing the ich filled 25% with a slightly warmer non-ichy 20%.

I've never had more than one pet at a time, and I'm feeling a little bad for Freya. I have total new relationship energy for my tank.

It's pretty much all I think about. I dream about it every night. I make breakfast, I eat it in front of the tank. I make dinner, I eat it in front of the tank. I find my fish endlessly fascinating. When people ask me how I'm doing I say, "The tank's looking great."

A few months after I got Wolf Parade's last album, I had listened to it so often I was a little sick of it, but felt compelled to listen to it anyway, just always one more time. Eventually, I just put it away because I didn't want to stop enjoying it.

I may have to find a way to do that with a 4-foot tank full of living beings.


zoom said...

I am getting an almost irresistible urge to set up another tank. I loved my clown loaches and cory catfish best of all, and I still dream about my rummynose tetras. (The better the water conditions, the redder their noses glow.)

I'm seriously considering a marine tank too, with brain corals and mushrooms and stuff.

shelleyt said...

thanks for the link to that piece about NRE...a good reminder.
no more ich!

Asteroidea Press said...

Hey! I almost got rummynose tetras! I went for the cardinal tetras instead because I wanted more colour.

I almost got some cories too, but then I have a pleco and the kuhlis, so there's lots going on down on the bottom. I fell in love with some red-bellied dwarf flag cichlids and got them instead.

Oh, if you get a marine tank, you should totally get a starfish.

Shelley! Glad you liked the link. I thought it was a good article.