Tuesday, January 17, 2012


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.
My tank is full of plants, to say the least, I don't think I've ever seen as many plants in a tank before, they just sort of took over and in the process have formed ideal breeding conditions for Cichlids. I didn't know this and since I haven't had fish breeding in my tank for many years, didn't even think about it. Well about Christmas time I was looking at my new fish when a movement caught my eye, there were babies hiding amongst the plants. As can be imagined, I was thrilled. They are very small, perfect for one of the other mature fish to swallow.
Now I've noticed more babies. Whichever female is spawning she's either spawned again or there are more than one females spawning in the tank. These fish display some of the characteristics inherent in Marine fish, well in one sense, they are very active too. I love their vibrant colouration and curiosity. They come up to the side of the tank when I get home and watch my every move, really quite amusing.
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.


  1. And here I thought you were going to say you got a baby for Christmas... Now, I was thinking, "how is Geoff going to care for a baby??" Oh, it is baby fish you are talking about. Whew. No changing nappies nor finding a sitter while you were off to work.

    Okay, just having some fun with you, Geoff. I like how you caught your own fish for your tank. My first husband had fish tanks and we had some tropical fish at one point. I don't know the proper names, but we had Clown fish, Neon Tetras, Sea Annemoes, Lion fish. They are striking in their color, and were beautiful to look at. Peaceful and calming to watch, also. One time I looked in the tank to see baby Neon Tetras, but I think their mother ate them, though. I like the jungle in your tank. Oh, and the place you lived there on the east coast, sounded so romantic and exotic (and nice and warm!) Later, my Fine Feathered South African Friend. (P.S. I am first again.)

  2. How beautiful! My daughter has a fish tank and they are so peaceful to watch. Baby fish are so much easier to care for than other baby pets. You can sit back enjoy and watch.

  3. You girls make me laugh.
    yes mommy fish do tend to do that and yes the east coast is a beautiful, warm and sometimes romantic place, depends on who you are with.
    Crystal Mary,
    I must admit they kinda take care of themselves, not much trouble at all.
    God bless both of you, have a great day, Geoff.
    (P.P.S. Yes Joy you are :))

  4. Congratulations on the new addition to your family . . . hmm, do I detect a little bit of family resemblance in that smile?

    Cute story. Love to hear how people live their lives. enjoy the babies!

  5. "a little bit of family resemblance..." Oh, I love it! How funny! Thanks for the early morning LOL!!

  6. Oh, P.S. Congratulations, Grampa!

  7. That's so interesting. I only ever had goldfish, but never got one again after mine mysteriously vanished into thin air one week.

  8. Well Congratulations Geoff! I hope some survive too! Interesting to see them as they grow!

  9. One woman's thoughts,
    my mommy told me I have a beautiful smile :)
    Grampa indeed!
    So I look like a wet fish do I? HMPH!!!
    I used to have hair you know. :)
    those weren't gold fish, they were flying fish, Ha Ha Ha.
    Theanne, yes it is proving to be very interesting. Some of the first batch of babies are already getting their black dorsal fin stripe, very cute too.