Ranchu Mishap

For those that follow me on Twitter here you probably read that my two adorable ranchu (Bumblez and Oakki) have since passed away, which is partially why I have had a bit of a hiatus on here lately. There are a few possibilities which I feel may have contributed to the death of my ranchu which I am going to share with you now...

#1 The first issue being that the hardwood floors got refinished downstairs (which is why I have some unknowns as to what happened in my ranchu aquarium while I wasn't home), and although my bedroom upstairs where my fish reside were left with a closed bedroom door the dust from the downstairs floor still managed to seep into my room... hence wood dust getting into the aquarium. Not to mention the fumes throughout the house from the staining process and such may have also been a contributing factor.

#2 The power had apparently gone out at some point during this process... for how long exactly I am uncertain but I believe this may have contributed to problem #3.

#3 Filter failure which may have happened due to the power going out and it's honestly the first time this unit has failed in my tank. For goldfish, having water movement and constant filtration is basically a total must have since goldfish create a lot of waste, but wait... I have an air filter as well, which brings me to issue #4.

#4 Some where along the lines of doing regular tank maintenance (honestly this next part is a total mystery) but some how my air check valve was going in the wrong direction and hence no oxygen was actually going into the tank from the air pump (which explains the lack of bubbles being produced after I cleaned the decor).

#5 It could also be that once all the filtration had failed it caused the water parameters to drastically change, which in itself could have eliminated the ranchu. However I did perform a 50% water change before I left the fish to fend for themselves for 2 days (they did have an auto-feeder so food was not an issue, and there was uneaten food in this gravel-less setup when I did return), but it's a little hard to believe that even with the filter failure the fish didn't survive those short few days (I mean they did survive being shipped to my house in breathable bags for a few days).

So while my ranchu have passed on to the big fish bowl in the sky... my albino bristlenose pleco 'Eval' that also lived in the aquarium with them... had survived. I already knew why it survived and that's because pleco's have an additional set of lungs allowing them to breathe differently than say... ranchu. My betta whom is kept in a smaller tank in my room had also survived but betta's also breathe differently than say... ranchu, as betta's are labyrinth breathers which allows them to breathe out of water for a period of time.


New Fish at Walmart

Of course I am merely browsing through the fish at Walmart where aquariums are mis-marked and inaccurate fish information is provided.. when I come across a tank that states it has 'Silver Dollars' in it (and no the tank isn't filled with large silver coins). Myself having a rough idea of what the typical Silver Dollar fish looks like glanced into the tank not seeing any of these. I did however notice an interesting freckled specimen that I don't recall ever seeing before, so having little information about what fish are actually in this tank I did my best to research Silver Dollars. As luck would have it, it turns out it is not the typical Silver Dollar but what I believe to be fairly lackluster looking 'Spotted Silver Dollars' (apparently there are even 'Striped Silver Dollars' and a few other varieties you may came across in the Silver Dollar world).
Spotted Silver Dollars
The Spotted Silver Dollar is a fish native to the Brazilian Amazon and rivers in the French Guiana, and it can reach up to 13cm in length, but I have read some people claiming to have typical Silver Dollars which can apparently reach around 9in in length. I did find it peculiar that these fish almost mimic the ever-so popular Piranha or even the Pacu which are all Amazonian fish, and as it turns out they are actually closely related although these fish are mainly vegetarian with the exception of eating a few insects and possibly tiny fish that can fit in there mouths. Silver Dollars can apparently live up to 10 years, are a schooling species that's semi-aggressive, live in weedy dimly lit rivers, prefer a pH level of 5-7, like a water hardness level of 8-15dgh, and temperatures around 75-82°F (although 80°F seems ideal for both fry and adults).
Giant Silver Dollars
As luck would have it I did unknowingly photograph some Giant Silver Dollars while in the Amazon area at the Baltimore Aquarium!


Ranchu Birthday Weigh-In

Looks like its been around 2 months since the ranchu's last weigh-in and this time they have officially turned 1 year old. Last time Oakki weighed in at 51g and he now weighs 64g, a gain of 13g. Bumblez was 42g last time and now weighs 59g, a gain of 17g (Way to go Bumblez!). Although Bumblez put on the most weight he is still 5g behind Oakki.
Oakki (left), and Bumblez (right)
Do you remember my new years resolution for them?

"I think my goal for Bumblez right now is to have him be at least 50g by the end March, as it will mark them turning 1 year (12 months) old. Do you think Bumblez can do it? I bet Oakki will be at least 60g by the end of March, what ya think?"

Guess what... it happened!!


Baltimore Aquarium

This past week I went to the Baltimore Aquarium over at Maryland's Inner Harbor and I wanted to share a glimpse of some of the photos I took there. If you're interested in going it's cheaper after 5pm on the weekdays ($12) and the parking garage had cost us over $20 (I believe there is cheaper parking available if you go to the Aquariums webpage). It was pretty busy when we went (the dolphin show got cancelled that day too) but you basically wait in line to purchase your ticket/s and then you have to wait in another line before they call your tickets group number outside the building.
Click to enlarge
I realize these thumbnails are on the small side, but if there's any image you'd like to see up-close just leave me a comment below describing which image/s you'd like to see and I'll add it onto this post.


Sweet Baked Swai - Recipe

I figured it was only a matter of time before I posted up a fish recipe on here (no I won't be cooking up my pet fish, sillies) and I happened to come across some frozen fillets of Swai (at Target of all places). Personally I had never heard of Swai before this week and I had no clue what it would even taste like, but it really didn't taste like anything as it's just a basic white meat type fish much like cod or catfish (fairly inexpensive), although not fishy and hence very mild in terms of flavor (You could probably season this any way you'd like. I think next time I'm going to try combining a little sriracha and sweet chili sauce together to make this, yum). The fish are from Vietnam and apparently Vietnamese prefer a similar fish called Basa (the two are almost commonly mistaken for one another), and Vietnam sends the least desired swai to be consumed in US (gee, middle class fish status eh??). Thus, swai will generally always be found frozen in the US and not fresh (which is a little disappointing since.. I actually liked it). I got this original recipe concept off of AllRecipes but I did make a few changes to my recipe here (since I can't eat citrus).
Swai served with a side of butternut squash.
4 Fillets - Swai
1/4 Cup - Honey
3 Tbsp - Mayonnaise
2 Tbsp - Olive Oil
2 Tbsp - Dijon Mustard
2 Pinches - Himalayan Pink Salt, fine ground (or Sea Salt)
2 Pinches - Chinese Ginger, ground
1 Pinch - Black Pepper, ground *Optional*

Preheat oven to 425F (220C). Mix all the ingredients together except for the swai in a bowl. Place each fillet on a separate sheet of aluminum foil. Use up half of the mixture in total to drizzle over each fillet. Gently wrap the foil around each coated fillet, crimping the foil together over the top to seal in the fillet. Bake fillets in the preheated oven until fish flakes easily with a fork, around 15 minutes. Remove fillet from the foil, place on a serving plate, and top fillets with the leftover mixture.

Believe it or not, Swai are part of the fish keeping community!

I also did this post so I could share with you the new blog I started this year on eating healthy, click Real Phat to check it out, thanks everyone!