I got a bit of a surprise Christmas present this year, babies, Labidochromis caeruleus to be exact.
I've kept fish all my life, tropical fish that is. The only time I can remember when I didn't have at least one fish tank was when I was in boarding school, otherwise there was always one in my home in some form or other.
When we were living in East London on the east coast of South Africa, where the Indian Ocean meets the African continent and the warm Mozambique current laps the shore, the water temperature is high enough to support tropical coral and fish species, so of course I collected my own fish and made my own fish food. Marine tropicals are astounding in their beauty and diversity, to say the least, but they are also extremely active which adds to their attraction, well in my opinion anyway.
I would go diving for them with a special net/plastic bag type contraption. It was in fact quite ingenious really. There was a metal loop attached to a pole, not very long, just about 2 foot so I could wield the loop. The loop itself was about 2 foot in diameter and had a clear plastic tube of about 18 inches glued to it which ended in a cone of mesh which in turn ended in a screw top plastic bottle, without the top of course.
What would happen is; I would spot a fish I wanted then by hook or by crook I would entice it into the plastic tube part of the net, once inside the tube I
would scoop it further in and eventually it would land up in the bottle. Very clever actually, not my idea, someone else's. From there it was just a matter of transferring it to the bucket on shore without it ever leaving the water or undergoing excessive stress and then into my tank.
Anyway I digress, I was talking about babies. All my other tanks over the years have been the normal fish tanks that one finds in someone's home. Well I had always wanted Malawi Cichlids but because they are predators could never keep them with the fish I still had alive in my tank and so never acquired any, until recently.
I do have other species of fish in my tank but they are too big for these little fellows. Plecostomus, skunk Botia and Red Finned Shark, it's not really a shark but that's what they are called, they are all different types of catfish. It gives me pleasure to look in my tank when I get home and to see these little fish hiding in the plant growth. I hope quite a few of them survive, they are in a closed system with lots of hiding places. It doesn't look like I'll be clearing plants from my tank for a while yet.