My tank has been cycling with two raw shrimp since 12/11. The next week, I was lucky enough to get some trimmings from drobertson and mosaic (on the same day!) to help me in my struggle to be free of plastic plants. I was checking my water about every other day and getting impatient with the consistently high nitrites so I decided to leave the tank alone. I came to the conclusion that a watched tank never cycles. Come on! On 12/30, I made a trip to Petsmart for kitty litter and saw they had some pretty nice-looking plants (usually they aren't the greatest), so I got some L. repens, dwarf Sagittaria, Anubias afzelii, and compact(?) sword. No more plastic. 8O On 12/31 I tested my water after several days of ignoring it and Eureka! I was ready for fish.
Once at the lfs
, I managed to round up three different loaches. A teeny yoyo and a teeny striata were hanging out in the same tank, so I took those. In another tank with some baby cichlids I found an adult queen loach sitting on the bottom and all greyed out with absolutely ripped up fins. I took her not knowing whether she'd make it but not wanting her to kick it in a LFS
tank. For some color and movement in places other than the bottom (LOL), I picked up six cherry barbs.
Sadly, the queen loach did not make it. She stayed up near the top for a couple of hours, then started swimming around erratically, upside down most of the time. She would tire out and sink to the bottom, then once she hit something (plants, gravel, etc.) she would perk up and start swimming all over again. Eventually she didn't have the energy to swim anymore and was upside down on the gravel, breathing hard. So I euthanized her. I've never had to be the executioner before; it was hard but I couldn't let her stay like that.
The others are all just dandy, though.