I just realized that I haven’t let you know how the move of my two new Black Ghost Knives, Blake and Devin, into my big tank went!
So here’s what I did to prepare:
I did a big water change in the 55gal, like 25% or more. I also removed about half the water in the 10gal (where the two new BGK’s were) and replaced it with water from the 55gal. I didn’t do this all at once, but I slowly added that water into the tank to allow acclimation time. Similar to the method that you acclimate newly bought fish by adding a little of the new tank’s water to their bag. This way is just doing it for the whole tank instead of just one bag.
Between adding new water to the 10gal I went about reorganizing the 55gal to make new caves for everybody. Before I started there was a big cave on the left side of the tank as well as a large floating log for my current BGK Cole. When I was done there was two caves on each side (4 total). Now I had taken the caves from the 10gal to put them into the 55, so the little BGKs were left without caves. But they did have the smaller floating log and the clear “ghost tube” where they hid until it was time to move them.
By then I had added all the water into the 10gal, so I was able to refill the 55gal with new water (I only have one bucket, so I couldn’t refill the 55 until I had emptied the 55’s water into the 10gal).
I let all that sit for several hours. I wanted both the tanks and the fish to have time to settle.
After 3 or 4 hours I went about transferring the new BGKs into the 55gal tank. My big worry was how I was going to net them with as little trauma as possible. It was actually easier then I thought it would be. Because both of the hiding places they had left (the floating log and the ghost tube) were both round cylinder shaped I was simply able to place the net over one side and slowly lifted it up out of the water until the fish were in the net instead of the tubes. The didn’t even notice much until I actually lifted them out of the water.
I decided to move Blake, the calm but curious one, first. So I got him in the net and took him to the 55gal (which is only 3 feet away) I put him on the same side of the tank as Cole (the left side), which turned out to be a little bit of a mistake. He ended up going right into Cole’s cave. They were both quite shocked to find another fish there! Cole is only used to small zebras (which I think he is starting to eat now) and Blake was quite surprised at finding a fish of Cole’s size. There was a little tussle (Blake wanted to both hide and also investigate the cave and Cole refused to give it up) but eventually they sorted it out and even ended up sharing the cave for a while! Eventually Blake, the curious fish that he is, decided he had to investigate the rest of the tank and left Cole alone. He eventually found the cave right around the corner from Cole’s and stayed there for a while.
After Blake was settled (it only took maybe 20-30 minutes) I got ready to move Devin, who was always the more aggressive of the two. I got him in the net the same way as Blake, and put him in the opposite side of the tank as the other two. After a little bit of frantic searching he found one of the caves on the right side of the tank and settled right in.
After a little bit Blake started investigating the rest of the tank in detail, and the was a little fight when he stumbled across Devin’s cave, but everything was fine once he moved on to do more searching. Once it got dark out Devin came out and he would pick a fight with Blake if they ended up in the same area. But one time he stumbled across Cole and went running (well quickly swimming anyway) in the opposite direction. After that he has been much more subdued. I have never seen Cole be aggressive in anyway, but apparently his large size is enough to put Devin in his place. Whenever he sees Cole coming he will quickly get out of his way. It kind of reminds me of when a soldier will move aside when someone higher in rank is coming down a hallway. It is a subtle way of saying “you have the right of way”.
In the week since there have been only a few really minor arguments. I hate to even call them that. It’s mostly Cole telling Blake that he is being to pushy and to BACK OFF! It’s really subtle (almost like a cat swatting another with it’s paw) and for the most part everyone gets along. It turns out that Cole likes one of the smaller caves, the one that Blake picked originally. It barely fits him, but he seems to like it that way. Blake has taken the large cave (Cole’s old one). It’s weird to see the small fish in the large cave, and the big fish in the smaller one, but if they like it who am I to say different? Cole sometimes views both his new cave and his old one as “his”, but Blake has been great about just calmly going to the other cave when Cole decides to change locations. Devin has kept his original cave choice and pretty much doesn’t leave his cave. If he does he avoids the other guys like the plague.
One thing I will say is that I’m really going through the fish food with these guys! They eat bloodworms which I feed in cube form. Cole gets 1 or 2 cubes a night, and each of the new guys are getting one every night (which is slightly over feeding them, but they were really skinny when I got them), and I normally give all of them one night off a week. That adds up to about 20 cubes a week. Each pack has 30 cubes, and costs about $5.00. So it’s not going to be cheap to keep these guys well fed. But I knew that before I got them.
I plan on getting several different kinds of food to try to give them a more varied diet. From past experience Cole only really likes the bloodworms (and only the San Francisco Bay brand), but I’d like these new guys to have more variety then that, and maybe after a while Cole will like something different as well.
So that’s what’s up. All in all it was pretty easy. I was afraid that Cole would become aggressive when faced with his own kind, but he has handled these changes with his usual grace. And the cherry-on-top is that Devin has become more subdued and doesn’t pick fights anymore.