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Iranocichla hormuzensis
by Dave Hansen

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I had the tank prepared for a week before I received the fish. Once they were in my hands I slowly acclimated them to their home. I was in my constantly, checking on, and trying to count the four of them. I was never able to get above three and lost the one very early on. This kicked my stress level up a notch.

Water Vertebrate Nature Underwater Fin

The fish has an elongated intestinal tract consistence with an algae based diet (Lamboj, pers comm.). I fed crushed spirulina flake for quite sometime. Growth was slow, but they were growing. This was a positive sign. Of course during this point it came time to do my first water change. I drained about 30% of the tank into a bucket and then poured the bucket into a gallon milk jug to precisely measure how much water I had taken out of the tank. I was determined to replace the salt content grain for grain. Half the water ended up on the floor as I was pouring it into the milk jugs. I. hormuzensis was my first foray into any type of fishkeeping involving salt and it wasn't going well. I have had prouder moments in the hobby than this disaster in the making. Water was seeping all over the floor and I had no idea how much salt to replenish. Keep in mind how difficult the conditions are that these fish exist in the wild and this makes all of this obsessing bordering on silly. I was living in the moment though and determined to do this right. In hindsight I am sure a little less/more salt wouldn't have bothered them much. I now use guesstimation and mix some salt and water into a bucket to fill the tank back up. I mixed it well and proceeded to siphon the water into the tank from the bucket. The bucket was empty. I looked in the pail and 90% of the salt had stayed in the bottom of the bucket. I walked over and shut the door to the fishroom. I didn't need my family witnessing this spectacle. I grabbed the hose and went about filling the tank back up. I reached for the spoon, estimated what I needed to get close, and called it good. I attentively watched the fish for the next couple of hours waiting for them to keel over from the shock to their system they must surly have been experiencing. Amazingly they survived their first water change. Subsequent water changes went much smoother. I operated under the motto, "What doesn't kill them only makes them stronger". I drained the water, added dechlor, and slowly filled the water up and added salt as I was filling and it worked fine. As I discovered while tinkering with water parameters, these fish are extremely hardy.

Water Underwater Organism Fish Marine biology

I had no false illusions that this trio would be breeding anytime soon. The dialogue I had developed with the other hobbyists, keeping I. hormuzensis was a wonderful source of information. It would be around 24 months before I could expect them to breed. I was concentrating on maintaining healthy fish while focused on water changes and feeding. Three fish in a 113 liter tank was not taxing the filtration system at all, but I performed a rigorous schedule of 30% weekly water changes. In addition to the spirulina flake I introduced algae tabs and the occasional protein flake which were greedily consumed. The fish were putting on size and aggression was not yet an issue. Despite no dithers or target fish in the aquarium they were not a shy species at all. I enjoyed watching them slowly develop.

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