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The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:06 am
by Christie_ZXR
As requested, I'm going to try to keep a bit of a diary on here for Mushroom and the odd things he gets up to. :D
I'm afraid I may be a bit poo with updating it, because I've got a lot of work on at the moment and it's about all I can do to actually look after Mushroom and scribble down the odd note in his little journal! But I'll do my best :)

Right, for any not familiar with the little guy, this is my fave piccy of Mushroom, and he's a Takifugu Ocellatus:

And this is where he currently lives:
(Excuse my awful photography skillz! Do you like the kitchen table...? That blue thing would be it's reflection :? )
Spot the pufferfish! That's him in the bottom right hand corner. Hiding from the evil soul-stealing picture making thing!!

Now, the good news is he'll be moving very soon! I did get veto'd on the bigger tank by the o/h. Who said if I go and buy another tank I'll be losing a boyfriend... But I already have a huuge community tank in my lounge. (Which was actually a gift! Complete with twin lights, and a fluval filter, and a beautiful mahogony cabinet and goodness knows what else!) It would be ideal for Mushroom long term :D. It's been a community tank for some time now, so the fish are starting to reach "that age" and sadly, slowly dropping off. My intention is to move the remaining fish that can go into my guppy tank, and rehome my lovely plec, Plecosaurus with my dad. (He's too big for my guppy tank, and I can't face giving him to my lfs, who did offer to take him, cos I'll miss him! But this way, he'll only be up the road)

So, Mushroom will be getting the whole thing to himself!! I've got to do a few modifications, but I'm going to stick with the current filtration for the time being. I have plant lights in there at the moment, so they need to go, and I'll be needing a better skimmer than the little one I've currently got in his old tank.

I'm very excited for him! But it's going to take a bit of time to work out the move. I've got to make a decision on the salinity for a start. He's currently at 1.006, and the target is 1.018. But the big tank is FW. So I'm a bit stumped. The filter is cycled, obv, so it seems silly to waste that. If I just up the salinity to match, I'll kill the bacteria. So I think the only thing I can do is up it to 1.002 and acclimatise him. But if anyone has a better suggestion, I'm all ears :D because that doesn't seem ideal.

Next bit of news is this little guy!

Fig 8s seem to be impossible to get around here! So when I spotted one in an LFS, I snapped him up quick! I've been dying to have one for months and months, and that's what Mushroom's tank was originally for. He's being "babysat" in a 30L Biorb at the moment, (modd'd with extra filtration anyway, and sitting at 1.002 currently) and waiting patiently to move into Mushroom's old tank when Mushroom moves into the big tank. (With any luck, this weekend! But failing that, no longer than next weekend) Can't decide on a name for him at all. We were thinking of calling him Mister Crowley, because he's got the infinity symbol on his back, and that makes me think of the magician from the Tarot Cards. But it's still undecided. Might just call him Aleister!

So, to finish up, here's a couple of more recent pics of Mushroom. I swear the little bugger's growing, so I'm itching to get him into that bigger tank quick!


"Look at my big chunky belly!"


Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 6:12 am
by Christie_ZXR
Uh oh, my pictures have come out too big. Here's the photobucket link to see them properly:

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 8:36 am
by sevenyearnight
If you go to the photobucket site, you can edit the pics, keep the width below 800 pixels :)

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:00 pm
by xrayjeeper83
So beautiful

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Mon Oct 10, 2011 11:16 pm
by ILoveLola
That is a seriously cute puffer, I love his markings.
& congrats on snatching up a F8, I love mine to pieces ;)

I'm really excited to read the Mushroom diaries!

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:03 am
by Christie_ZXR
Woohoo! I found my post!

I have a nice little bit of time spare this morning so I need to update!! I've been keeping a paper journal of Mushroom's antics which I have here to refer to (if I can decipher my writing through the water splodges!!) so I'll give you a little summary of what's been going on and all the behavioural things I've been keeping notes of.
It is mainly behaviour I've been keeping track of and reactions to various things. I have kept notes of salinity changes etc but I won't clutter up the thread with numbers, although I'm more than happy to share them if anyone is interested.

Mushroom has been with me since Thurs 1st Sept 2011 according to my notebook. I have to be honest, it does feel like longer! We've had headaches, stress, panics and the ultimate "sorry darling, I am having a 4ft tank because Mushroom needs one, and that's the end of that" conversation... I really do hope he's with me for many years, I love seeing his cute little face every morning as he "kisses" his cockles, and then promptly devours them like the wild little beast he really is! Those eyes don't fool me...I know he'd have my finger off if he thought it might be tasty! :lol:

Right, some extracts:

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:09 am
by Christie_ZXR

"Nothing but burrowing behaviour observed today. Eyes seem to be somewhat more active and alert. Lights have continued off all day, which I believe is making him feel safer.*
Offered a mussel, totally ignored. When left alone for a few hours, finally took a bit of the mussel but left the rest. No water change performed today, too tired. This puffer is hard work!!"**

*he had been glass dancing like mad - I took the burrowing to be a good sign compared to the erratic swimming up and down!
**he was also getting OTT water changes towards the end of sept once I realised he was nothing like a figure 8 puffer and the tank was far too small!

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:17 am
by Christie_ZXR

"Added a 'blue moonlight' bulb to replace the 'tropical daylight' bulb. Behaviour improved dramatically. Much less hiding and much more exploring. Mushroom has taken to flashing to frighten the life out of me. Initially belived this to be ick or something equally horrible, but it simply appears to be Mushroom shaking the sand off his head after burrowing*"

*Can confirm this now! He still does it, and it still worries me!!

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:27 am
by Christie_ZXR

"New Refractometer has arrived! Not that Mushroom seemed interested when I showed it to him. Intend to get salinity to 1.008 and leave it there for a while to monitor behaviour"


"Switched over to cockles as a proper staple after learning more about thiamanese. Mushroom seems pleased! Think he prefers them to mussels anyway. Has now begun attacking the cockle the second it drops in the water."


"Mushroom confused by a cockle! He knocked it in such a way that it closed on his nose! Immediately swam to the back of the tank and hid, refused to come out for some time. Eventually investigated the cockle carefully then proceeded to chomp it as usual. The combination of intelligence and daftness in these fish continues to amaze me."*

*...and I think it always will!

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:47 am
by bertie 83
They never seem as enthusiastic about new aquarium toys as us do they? Lol

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:51 am
by Christie_ZXR

"Discovered some Thaimanese info totally by accident. Mushroom has occasionally been seen to 'wobble'. Have always attributed this to being covered in sand from burying. Suspect the reality might be different.
In snakes, too much Thaimanese causes a deficiency in Thaiman. This is turn causes loss of coordination and wobbling. Suspect there is a very strong chance Mushroom could end up with this problem as Thiamanese-free foods are proving a nightmare to get. It's cockles or cockles. Luckily, he likes cockles. Intend to get hold of a good vitamin suppliment to try to counter any deficiencies he may or may not have. Diet still varied slightly with bloodworm and mussels being offered occasionally."


"Waterlife's Vitazin purchased, will see how it goes."

(Skipping some waffle here about Mushroom's reaction to getting his tank draped with tinsel for Christmas!! :lol: )


"Wobbling behaviour much lessened. Have been keeping an eye out for it since adding the suppliment. Still occuring, but much less frequent, and much less 'wobbly' when it does occur.
Amusing reaction to the best friends nose being pressed up against the glass! Mushroom skitted immediatly to the back of the tank and hid behind some leaves carefully watching her from between them. Did not come out again until she went away!!"


And that's all for now folks! Have left out a lot of waffle...I do write a lot of waffle :lol: and stuck mainly to the important points I've noted. Mushroom is currently a very active little fish. He's very alert, and I'm not aware of any problems other than the vitamin issue. I'm fairly sure that's what the wobble is caused by, since it's progressivly going away the more he gets of the suppliment.
You wouldn't believe the size of him now! He's about one and a half times the size he was! Although I do worry that he is stunted after having spent so long in a shop display tank (All 1.5x1.5 foot of it :( ) and having been put in a tank that was too small by me because I was none the wiser.
I doubt very much we're out of the "danger zone" yet with him, but I'm still constantly researching and constantly trying to make sure I give him the best chance possible when it comes to water conditions etc. I'm taking it as a good sign that he made it past the 3 month mark with flying colours, and I'm staying optomistic because the thought of losing him now is just plain horrible!!

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 8:55 am
by Christie_ZXR
bertie 83 wrote:They never seem as enthusiastic about new aquarium toys as us do they? Lol
Not in the slightest! :lol: The o/h thought I was quite bonkers as I unpacked the refractometer whilst explaining carefully to Mushroom that it was much better than my old hydrometer and it should mean he gets much better water...

Although, I didn't realise you can adjust the focus on it :? Only just figured that one out!! So it's a lot easier to use now lol. :lol: Serious brain-not-in-gear moment that seems to have lasted a couple of months...

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 10:08 am
by sevenyearnight
I was hoping you would post numbers and specifics, as far as temp, SG, tank size, etc. for anyone reading this in the future who may have the same type of puffer.

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 7:12 am
by Christie_ZXR
No problem. This is what I've got at the moment. I shan't post what I started with because it was all wrong :( I didn't know enough about these guys when I bought him, and the shop assured me he was a bit like a fig 8 to look after :(

Tank is 4ftx18"x12".
I have a rather cheap and nasty protein skimmer on it (hong kong special!!) which shocked me by actually working! But I intend to replace that with a proper one once I've saved my pennies.
External Filter from the dark ages - an old Eheim Proffesionel, which is still going strong.
In the filter I've got lots of bio-media, nitrate & phosphate remover and activated carbon.
(When Mushroom's a bit older, I intend to cure some live rock rubble/bits to the right temp and salinity and add that in the filter. Not putting any in the tank because when Mushroom has his "moments" of zooming around, I don't trust him not to hurt himself on it! I'd guess that would vary depending on the fish though.)
Substrate is fine sand for Mushroom to bury in, with plenty of decor for him to explore, but plenty of open space left for swimming and burying.
2 Airstones for extra surface movement, well oxygenated water makes a difference for him imo.
Tank's heated to 20 degrees, I experimented with the temps lower, but he didn't react well. Got very sluggish and uninterested in things. Again, when he's a bit older and a bit bigger, I'll try again. 15-18 degrees is the recommended temperature, 18 is what I'd like to aim for. Being in Sunny England, I don't need a chiller. The weather here never gets above about 3 degrees C, maybe 4 at the height of summer!!!! lol.
Tank is currently at 1.015, which seems to suit him for the moment. As he gets bigger and older, I'll up it again. I'm sort of playing it by ear, I'll see how he reacts to more changes and make a decision from there.

Mushroom is roughly 3.5-4" or so, so I'd hazard a guess at maybe 9 months-1year old, but possibly older. I'm pretty confident these conditions will need to change as he grows up though;

*170L tank - 4ft wide
*External Filter with nitrate & phosphate remover and activated carbon
*2 x Airstones
*20 degrees
*1.015 sg
*Fine Sand Substrate

One other point that I feel is really important is Thaimanese-free foods and vitamin suppliments. I just wish better suppliments were available in england! But sadly they're not :( or if they are I can't find them for sale.

Re: The Mushroom Diaries!

Posted: Wed Jan 11, 2012 8:35 pm
by sevenyearnight