On discovering a baby

Look!

Ok, you might need some help if you don’t know what you’re looking for..

Isn’t it awesome?! 4 of the 7 miniature schrimp I bought a month ago were ‘pregnant’. At some point I noticed that they were no longer carrying their eggs, but there was no sign of the babies anywhere.

Until now.

I was beginning to wonder if they’d hatched at all.

Now I’m looking forward to watching the babies grow up 🙂 I say babies, so far I’ve only seen one, but I figure if one’s survived, the chances of a few of the other 400 or so surviving are pretty high. Higher than the chance of me seeing them in 350 litres of well-planted aquarium. Especially when they don’t start off particularly colourfully.

On preparing an aquarium – part 1

We started with the glass.

The DB’s father had 2 aquariums, neither of which was in use.

The short version would be: we chose one, washed it out and took it home. The real life version was more complicated but that’s not relevant here.. 🙂

Anyway.

We had an aquarium we wanted to use.

DB knows a welder who let himself be sweet talked into welding us a table exactly the right size for the aquarium.
Presumably one can buy ready made aquarium tables, but having one made to fit exactly is a lot cooler. Besides it’s better to have a lip on the table to give more support and most normal tables don’t have them.

We’d bought a tin of metallic blue paint for the garden bench so we used that for the table too.

Next step was getting a piece of wood and a piece of polystyrene to fit snuggly inside the table frame. The wood adds stability and the polystyrene insulates the aquarium (the water temperature is above room temperature, depending on what kind of fish you have).

Once everything was dry/cut to size DB and his dad carried it all into the sitting room and put it together. They put bits of cardboard under the feet to protect the tiles.

The next stage was preparing and filling it.

We bought and washed 2 small sacks of gravel.

Washing gravel involves pouring some of it into a bucket, running water into it and dipping your hands through it to the bottom of the bucket, scraping up the gravel at the bottom and bringing it to the top. Repeat.

It isn’t entirely necessary, but the dust makes the water cloudy and so means more work for the pump later.

I watched DB at the beginning and thought it would hurt my hands, but he said it was therapeutic so I tried it too. He was right, it didn’t hurt, it actually felt more like digging a hole on a gritty beach.

When the water ran clear we tipped the gravel bucket by bucket onto the floor of the aquarium. There doesn’t seem to be a perfect gravel depth, it’s more like guesswork and luck. 2 sacks was more than enough for 50mm of gravel.

On baby fish – part 1

And another one from the draft folder… (late March 2014)

***

The DB was given an aquarium a few years ago*. He bought 5 different sorts of fish, some lumpy bits of wood and some fish food and has looked after the fish ever since.

Then he met me. He showed me the aquarium and I nodded and said something like, “yes, that is indeed an aquarium, and those are indeed fish”. I couldn’t see the attraction, but hey, each to his own.

As I spent more time at his house, I spent more time looking at the fish. I began to differentiate between them. They were different colours for starters, but they also had different characteristics… No, I wouldn’t’ve believed me either ;).

The fish started noticing each other as fish, and not just colourful obstacles.

In January, I moved in.

The fish, specifically 2 of the discus fish, started laying eggs.

The first few batches – if you can have batches of eggs – were eaten before they could hatch.

The next couple of batches hatched but disappeared while we were painting my flat.

I finally arrived, with all my possessions (although some are in DB’s dad’s cellar), on the 1st of March.

By midday on the 3rd, they’d laid new eggs.

We watched them hatch, left a light on to help their parents look after them. We rejoiced every evening after work when they were still there, exclaiming (loudly) how big they were. It’s astonishing how much a fish can grow in the course of a day.

I was worried that they’d get eaten again, so DB put a wire mesh across the aquarium. It took a couple of attempts, but finally all the ‘wrong’ fish were on one side, leaving the happy fish family on the other.

They’re 3 weeks old now.

It’s amazing how attached you can get to a fish. Or 50.

* like more than 10 years