Kuhli sadness (and other updates)

If you’ve done any reading or research about kuhli loaches, you know that some kuhli owners have been known to find loaches in their filter.  If you’re like me, though, you’ve thought to yourself, “I’ll just be sure that the filter in my hypothetical/planned loach tank won’t have holes big enough for the loaches to enter.”

It’s not as easy as it sounds, folks.  They can fit into some shockingly tiny spaces.

Carbon cartridge

Carbon cartridge

I pulled two kuhlis out of my Cascade 300 internal filter today.  One was still alive and swam out with a little encouragement.  The other wasn’t even a complete skeleton.

The holes in the bottom of the filter are very tiny.  Even now (especially now) that I’ve seen a bare kuhli skull, I can’t believe that the fish were able to swim up into the filter.

As a safeguard for the time being, I’m putting the carbon cartridge (pictured at right) back into the filter.  I had taken it out since I don’t usually run carbon in my tanks; I figured I’d be better off using the space for biomedia.  The cartridge can be emptied, though, and it fits tightly into the media chamber, so I’m going to stuff it with biomedia and use it to block off access to the impeller.  Loaches might still get inside the media chamber (which I’ll have to watch for — good thing the filter is clear-bodied) but they should be safe until I get the chance to rescue them.

I feel like I let my loaches down.  If you’ve ever lost a fish, you know the feeling.

Keep reading for more updates.  These will be more positive, I promise.

In other news: Progress on the fishroom!

I’ve officially shut down my 10-gallon platy tank; the platies that were in the tank are now living in my 29-gallon “community” tank (which isn’t a community at the moment, as platies are the only critters — other than MTS — living in it).

Actually, I did that two weeks ago, but I actually shut off the heater and filter today.  I had left it all running “just in case,” but “in case” never happened, so… I also moved the tank from the wall to the tank shelves, which means I now have room to start drywalling the fishroom. It’ll be a bit of an adventure getting drywall up without getting everything covered in dust, but I’m confident that I can do it if I’m careful.

My 10-gallon gammarus tank now has a glass lid, which means it will lose less water to evaporation.  That’s awesome. I still see daphnia, copepods, and the occasional shrimp moving around, but I’m not really sure how it’s going.

I’m cycling a sponge filter for a future RCS tank.  The filter is running in a water pitcher; I’m using fish food as an ammonia source for a fishless cycle.

Setting up my secondhand Fluval Chi for RCS is likely to be my next medium-sized project, and sometime (hopefully) soon I’ll get back to my 55-gallon project.

Emersed Java Moss after several weeks…and finally, the emersed java moss experiment is over and done with.  I’d forgotten to check water levels in the moss containers, and it all dried up. It’s fine — there was very little effort or cost expended in the project, and as a proof of concept, it worked perfectly.  I might start some java moss growing emersed on driftwood for the RCS tank.  Or I might not.  We’ll see.

Thanks for checking back!