Chantelle, Jessica and I enjoyed a rare Sunday off as the three of us paid a visit to the always awesome Two Oceans Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront. Pleasingly, Jessica seemed to quite enjoy her first ever outing to this fishy wonderland! :)
Last Thursday saw Chantelle and myself meet up in Bellville after work in order to join Dean and Zania for a braai – after all, someone had to eat those crayfish and that Geelbek that his colleague had gifted him! Of course on arrival Chantelle immediately got to work at wrestling the adorable little Zandea from Zania’s arms (as Terrance puts it, every time he sees a photo of us with the Stapelbergs its seems as if Chantelle has stolen the baby!), while Dean and I set up camp outside around the weber on what could only be described as the perfect summer’s evening.
We were spoiled for starters with a chilled crayfish little dish that Chantelle thoroughly enjoyed, but as for me, it was definitely the main course of tasty Geelbek that did the trick – a fish that I don’t particularly remember having eaten before. Despite clinging to the grid for all that it was worth after being removed off the coals, we eventually coaxed it off without dropping it and with that done it was time to drop the manners and tuck in – and tuck in we did! (Leaving of course some space for dessert. C’mon, what did you think?)
Anyway, outside of the scrumptious food being served on the night, the other story to come out of this particular dinner meeting was of course Dean’s CampMaster outdoor chair which decided to look me straight in the eye and take me on – a decision it would later come to regret.
Despite the fact that before I even sat down, I had already voiced my concerns over those dubious little thin pipes making up the chair, but on Dean’s assurance I gave in and sat down, and sure enough, it was a pretty comfy seat – until I shifted weight to stand up again.
With a loud ‘twang’ there broke one of the plastic catches holding the legs in place and with a great sigh, the chair kind of half folded in on its self.
Of course, there was much profuse apologizing following the incident for at least the next half hour, but damn it, now I feel as guilty as hell. So if anyone knows where I can find a replacement chair like the one in the picture below, please, please give me a shout so that I can ease my conscious and in doing so, prod Dean into one day inviting us back for supper.
You know, because he’d have two chairs then…
Alright my remaining boys. Time to up and at ’em, back to the life of the great big yonder, the endless and vast ocean that is the pet shop oversized fish tanks. Yes, the day has finally dawned where Chantelle too has seen the light and agreed to mothball the fish tank and return our remaining scaly friends from whence they came.
To be honest, the fish tank has been neglected for far too long, simply because we have other, more pressing concerns to take care of in our busy daily lives and to be truthful to our fish, we really haven’t paid them any attention at all since the arrival of the three four-pawed terrors into our household.
And so, the tank has naturally regressed to a point where it keeps overflowing due to blocked filer outlets, pebbles have a consistent mouldy look to them, plants refuse to flourish and slimy is probably the best word to use when describing the tank as a whole.
Oh, and the whole exercise is expensive as well, money that can honestly better be used to pay towards the cost of cat food, something which seems to be rocketing up at the moment on an almost daily basis.
So needless to say I was thus more than pleased when last night Chantelle arrived home and blurted out that she is finally over the whole fish tank thing and we can now finally go ahead and shelve it.
That said, I’m not quite sure how the kitties will react to the news… there seems to be nothing better than giving live snacks the beady eye and mind-fucking with your prey by sprawling out on top of their cage, knowing they have nowhere to run…
If you wondering why I no longer mention our fish tank here at home, never fear, the thing’s still here. Actually, we haven’t paid it much attention after that last devastating last Ick outbreak that killed of the large majority of our fish and left the thing looking pretty rotten, apart from the odd treatment and scrubbing or two.
However, this diminishing of stock turned out to be a rather good thing for the tank as it has since then stabilised nicely by itself and as such is looking pretty good at the moment. Having learnt our lesson of overstocking now, we’re determined to keep the population level as low as possible, but at the same time maintain the visual impact that a thriving fish tank is meant to have.
So at the moment the tank currently plays home to:
– 3 aquatic rooted plants
– 1 bundle of floating grass
– 1 plastic ship
– 1 plastic vase
– 1 heavily scarred mother of an orange goldfish (survivor)
– 1 bugger of a orange fantail goldfish who was actually responsible for introducing the plague in the first place (survivor)
– 1 lethargic purple Siamese fighter (survivor)
– 1 energetic, growing Plecostomus (survivor)
– 2 Black Moors just to balance the colour out a bit (new)
And there you have. That’s going to remain the fishnetic makeup of our tank for the foreseeable future – or at least until one of the fish eats another.
So in the effort to clean up our fish tank’s performance and make it all sparkly again, we managed to kill off all three existing plants and frighten a whole lot of fish in the process, thanks to our violent digging around in the pebbles which true, resulted in cleaner pebbles but came at the price of a tank we couldn’t see through for at least a day.
After leaving things as they were for a little while, Tuesday finally saw us give in and make a move to make things right again. First up, after introducing the two beautiful bronze ‘rocket’ goldfish to the tank on Sunday, we decided that it was time to swap out some of our orange goldfish in order to bring a little more diversity to the tank. Two, the two Chinese algae eaters that are costing us so many fish have finally got to go, and three, we had better toss out those rotting plants before the fish notice that there is something not quite right here.
So Tuesday afternoon saw Chantelle and I with our hands in the water with our little green net, frantically chasing the fast as hell algae eaters all about the tank, slowly but surely removing everything but the pebbles from the tank! We eventually managed to trap the algae eaters and toss them into a plastic bag, but this was only after we had literally taken everything, plants, filter and all, out first! Even our big plastic jug was holding a host of rather surprised and slightly stunned fish!
However, putting the fish we were to take to the pet shop in see through plastic bags turned out not to be our greatest idea ever as Olympus promptly jumped up onto the counter and put a hole through one of the bags, flooding the counter and causing a panicky team of C & C to grab ice cream containers to put the rest of the fish into.
Our three orange victims and the two bugger algae eaters safely tucked away in their private ice cream container, it was time to put everything back the way we had found it (apart from the more than half-eaten and pretty dead plants of course), jump into the car and zip off to Pets Aquaria, a place which now seems to recognise us by face thanks to all the business we’ve done with them since getting the fish and kittens.
Actually the guys there are pretty helpful and they said it was no problem just to swap our goldfish and algae eaters for other fish, so Chantelle was instantly at the back picking out two Black Moors and a nice silver and deep orange fantail as ‘The Replacements’. At the same time we picked up three new plants (all three different this time around) as well as some goldfish flakes and a nifty dual-purpose tank cleaner apparatus which Chantelle immediately put to good use on our return to the house.
So there you have it. We now have a nice and diverse fish tank that is home to one Siamese fighter, three Black Moors, two common orange goldfish, one orange fantail, one white with a red spot goldfish, two bronze rockets, one silver and deep orange fantail and one Plecostomus.
It’s just a pity that the tank looks so bare now with three baby plants in it! At least our sunken ship and ancient vase still give it a little credibility!
Hmm, while I had recently reported that everything was looking good in 45 Nagua fish tank, it seems I may just have jinxed myself.
Completely out of the blue, one of our guesthouse-rescued speckled goldfish bit the dust a little while ago, officially making that the worst surviving species out of all the fish we’ve owned (which admittedly hasn’t been that many).
For some or other reason the speckled goldfish don’t seem to be quite as hardy as their plain orange cousins, which in turn means that I probably won’t buy any more of this type in the future (though I wouldn’t mind getting a couple of those beautiful silver with orange markings goldfish again! Our tank could do with some colour variety dammit!)
And to make matters worse, shortly after the speckled goldfish got to ride the porcelain express, we noted a particularly bad turn of events when it came to our favourite fantail goldfish – something had been eating at its tail! The result was a very sluggish fish that now seemed to lose all lust for life and will to swim around, instead opting just to sit on the bottom of the tank for most of the day.
Closer observation netted the culprit pretty quickly though – for some or other reason one of my Chinese algae eaters has become VERY territorial, chasing after all of the slower goldfish and attaching itself to either their tail or sides by means of its sucker, doing immense damage to the fish in the process!
As it was, the fantail did eventually die and the algae eater has now calmed down, but now I’m not so sure how to proceed. I’m not going to replace the dead fish because the tank is currently slightly past its fish saturation point anyway, but I am not so keen on getting rid of the algae eaters either as they seem to do a great job in keeping the tank clean. My Plecostomus does a good job of algae cleaning too mind you, but it tends to eat a different type of algae to the Chinese algae eater, meaning that it is beneficial for both to be in the tank at the same time.
Guess I will just leave things as is for now – hopefully the rest of the fish quickly learn to shoal up and put the pesky little sucker fish back in his rightful place – at the bottom of the tank or stuck to the glass!
Oh yes, I climbed up the stairs to Cape Town Fish Market last week… and pulled a mussel. (Just to finish the week off on a laughing note! I can’t help it that you don’t find my jokes funny…)
Got some unexpected contradictory news from a different pet shop owner yesterday (thanks to Cheryl now bugging Monty to get a fish tank, meaning he has to do some legwork now), where basically we learned that mixing any other type of fish with your goldfish is a really, really bad idea.
As it turns out, goldfish are more than just a little territorial and will go after anything that is not of their species with more than a little aggression, which would explain why I was so certain I caught one of ours shaking that poor guppy to death right in front of me.
So now it makes sense while only the two quick-witted, bottom-feeding algae feeders and one feisty little tail chasing yellow female guppy are still alive then! (And it makes us feel better knowing that it wasn’t our tank or food negligence or something like that that killed off our new additions so quickly!)
So I guess if we want a little variety in the tank now, the search for more colourful goldfish had better then begin!
(Though with the planned addition to our family of a kitten or two shortly, perhaps all I’m doing is restocking their lunchtime snack bowl!)