Catfish Hibernation?

Discussion in 'Bumblebee Catfish' started by IntlTrvlr, Apr 10, 2017.

  1. IntlTrvlrNew MemberMember

    I am new to this forum, and joined mainly to ask this question, but it requires a bit of a story first. I live in Phoenix but spent most of the last 6 months away, part work in LA, and part travel overseas. I never changed the water in my 3 gallon biorb. I did an some to make up for evaporation. I thought the fish would die, but my roommate did feed them micropellets. I had 3 neon type fish and a small catfish, that I think was/is a bumblebee. Needless to nitrates must have gone through the roof. The three schooling fish lived, but my roommate though the cat was dead and quit adding bottom food months ago. I came back and thought he was dead as well. Nope, when I finally changed the water he showed up. He was buried in the rocks/gravel. He was much larger, and I am struggling to figure out what he was eating. As soon as I changed the water he seemed to wake up and become more active. And started to eat the three schooling fish, one each day. Any ideas what happened? I don't want to get more fish for them to be a snack. But I am impressed that this guy survived 6 months without a water change and limited if any food.
  2. Catfish12345Valued MemberMember

    He probably hid somewhere and ate leftover food. You should upgrade to a 20 gallon. 3 is too small for a bumblebee
  3. FlutterFishWell Known MemberMember

    Hello, and welcome to FishLore!

    I haven't got a good idea of what happened, but I think it was most likely due to ammonia poisoning (it's not only your nitrate levels shooting through the roof when you don't change your water for 6 months, but ammonia levels do as well). However, @CindiL or @BeanFish may be able to help better than I would.

    You have some stocking problems. Unfortunately, 3 gallons is not sufficient for any kind of fish with the exception of a long-finned betta and inverberates.

    To go with the stocking list first, cory catfish are schooling fish and need at least a group of 6 in order to survive. However, I am very doubtful that your catfish ate your other fish (especially if it was a bumblebee cory), so please post us pictures of that for identification. Could you give us a more detailed description of your neon fish? Was it blue, have a stripe, etc.

    I'd love to give you stocking suggestions, but I need a better understanding of what type your fish are.
  4. BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Technically if your tank was well filtered you would not have ammonia or nitrites but a tons of nitrates which are the end product of the nitrogen cycle. Altough the tank was overstocked since the first day so I wouldnt be surprised if Amonnia was also part of the problem, I am also confused about all that happened.
  5. CindiLFishlore LegendMember

    Hi, welcome to the forum :)

    This sounds a bit odd to me. If you or they thought the Cory was dead, wouldn't you have looked for the body? The decaying fish would have fouled the water up terribly and caused an ammonia spike high enough to kill all in the tank.

    How big of a water change did you do? And, have you tested your tank for nitrates? Do you have a test kit? What did you do with the filter when you cleaned the tank?

    My best guess is your water change drastically altered the chemistry in the tank aka old tank syndrome and this caused the deaths of your other fish which the Cory then happily ate. They won't go after another fish and kill it to the best of my knowledge.
  6. DanjamesdixonWell Known MemberMember

    Welcome to the forum.

    To be blunt - if you're going to be away that much regularly, and have tank maintenance suffer as a result of that - I wouldn't recommend keeping fish at all. Aquaria require regular upkeep, and if you can't provide that upkeep consistently, this hobby isn't suitable for you.

    That said, you could always attempt a Walstad tank. That would be cool.
  7. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    It wasn't a Cory.
    Back in the day, no one did water changes. There was a magical belief in the virtues of "old water" for many in the pre-1970 hobby - something we still see traces of in the people who think transferring water into new tank will aid the cycle.
    Fish lived long.
    Hibernation isn't the idea, but in a rainy/dry season world, most fish have evolved a mechanism for slowing their metabolisms and hanging on til the rain saves them. As rivers dry, fish get caught in sections that become lakes, then ponds, then puddles. Water quality declines, food becomes scarce and crowding becomes a norm.
    Fish survive by eating little, moving little and waiting. It's what a really badly run aquarium emulates. When hobbyists brag about not doing water changes, they are bragging about their own little puddle of death ecosystem.
    When the rainy season arrives, the surviving fish burst into energy.

    Sound familiar?
  8. BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Killifish. That is what sounds familiar lol
  9. NavigatorBlackFishlore VIPMember

    It's known from killifish, tetras, Cichlids, catfish - any place with rainy and dry seasons.
    I once had mollies caught out of a 20 gallon rock groove. When the person who got them for me went back 2 days later, there was no water there. 3 days after that, the rains came, and the rock was deep underwater.

    I have pictures of rock in a swordtail river, deeply eroded from rainy season, but 7 feet above my head when I took the picture.
  10. BeanFishWell Known MemberMember

    Its known from most freshwater fish as far as I know, some to a lessen degree, some up to a Killifish degree. Almost all fish in the hobby can take a wide range of temperatures and pH which shows they have all adapted to some sort of change in their enviroments usually caused by rain/dry seasons.
    I just mentioned killifish because they go to an extreme and kind of sad level in nature.
  11. IntlTrvlrNew MemberMember

    Thanks folks. All good info. Sounds like I need to get rid of my bumblebee cat before I restock. The schooling fish were neon tetras.