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Member Spotlight on FishFolk

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Family and Friends I am a victim of multiple tank syndrome (MTS). Here is my story. In the fall of 2007, my son began asking for a fish tank. I said no. After many persuasive pleas, I acquiesced and Coryd55 got a tank for Christmas.

At delivery, we were exposed to MTS. By spring, my son was infected, had five tanks and was breeding angelfish and plecos. Too young to drive, he cajoled me into taking him to local fish stores (LFS) and an Atlanta Area Aquarium Association (AAAA) auction. Repeated exposure to MTS weakened my immune system, allowing the disease to take hold. In the summer of 2008, I bought two 55 gallon tanks. I wanted a community tank but the 55 gallons came with 3 cichlids and a huge common pleco. The pleco was too big and he found a new home. Cichlids presented a challenge that hooked me.

There was a reason the 3 Ice Blues (metriaclimia greshakei, 2 male, 1 female) that I inherited were the only cichlids left in the tanks. They were mean. I tried every combination of decorations and food possible but the aggression was fierce. Frustrated, I sold one of the males to an LFS. The aggression continued. I set up a 10 gallon "time out" tank. When the fish were separated, the reason for the brutal aggression became apparent. All of the fish were male. I reluctantly sold one of the two remaining guys and started the search for females. After weeks of searching several LFS and on-line, I located six juvenile (juvie) albino Ice Blues. They arrived safe and sound but they did not calm the bully in the tank. Tearfully, I decided, he had to go. I shuttled him to my LFS, and they bought him too. Oddly enough, all three of the Ice Blues sold quickly. They were beautiful, but their beauty was only skin deep. The newly acquired albino Ice Blues soon shared their tank with a wild msobo deep male and a farm raised female. The cichlid tank was harmonious.

In July 2008, Cory and I spent a week at the American Cichlid Association convention. A fabulous albino Ice Blue male came home with me after the judging. The male msobo was not pleased and cornered the Ice Blue who was twice his size. My "time out" tank was yet again useful. Fish keepers know that catching these fish to move them always requires a tank rework! I had reworked these rocks so many times I had become one with the water. The msobo had to move for a bit, so out came the rocks and eventually the msobo. The next day, when the msobo was reintroduced, the balance was perfect. Three yellow lab juvies I won at an AAAA meeting auction in August 2008 stayed in a 20 gallon tank for over a month because I was afraid to change the chemistry of the big cichlid tank. After the Fall AAAA auction, tank space became a premium. I admit, I came home with several - okay 6 new fishes. The yellow labs were introduced to the cichlid 55 gallon where they are peacefully blending in with the other cichlids.

Why all this drama when I had another 55 gallon tank and could have divided my cichlids? Cory had his purple Moscow guppies and a marble angel juvie in that 55 with a multitude of my albino pleco juvies. We constantly move fish around and change our tank compositions - fish, substrate, decorations. Cory has his tanks and I have mine, but sometimes we share tank space. My name is Patrea. I have 1 husband, 2 teenage sons, 2 cats and lots of fishes. We live in Columbus, Georgia, not too far from Atlanta. My degree is in psychology with concentrations in criminal justice and Japanese. I enjoy writing and am published in several venues.


55 gallon tank - Cichlids: 3 months
The Fish
  • 7 albino metriaclimia greshakei, 2 m, 5f
  • 2 msobo deep, 1 wild male, 1 female
  • 3 yellow labs
The Facts
  • Layers of rocks- river rock, granite, holey rock, Alabama Flagstone, shells
  • Just converted to a Rena XP2, one sponge filter, two perfecto single lights, 2 power heads, 200 watt Visitherm Stealth heater, 1 bubble stone, sahara sand
  • Nitrates 0-10 ppm, nitrites - 0 , ammonia - 0, temp - 80, hardness - 7.8
55 gallon community tank: 3 months
The Fish
  • Approx 10 juvie albino bristlenose plecos, long fin and regular fin
  • Breeding pair bristlenose plecos, albino male, regular female
  • Breeding pair black veil tail angelfish
The Facts
  • 2 Aquaclear 50 filters, one sponge filter, 250 watt Eheim heater, 1 power head, dual bulb t-5 light strip, black fluorite sand, 1 bubble stone
  • Heavily planted
  • 6 caves
  • Nitrates 0-10 ppm, nitrites - 0 , ammonia - 0, temp - 80
20 gallon high - Rare/Endangered
The Fish
  • 4 adult limia perguiae, multitude of fry
  • 8 purple Moscow guppy fry
  • 2 albino bristlenose plecos
The Facts
  • 1 Marineland 30/60 HOB filter, one sponge filter, one 150 watt Visitherm stealth heater, no light
  • Assorted plants
  • Nitrates 0-10 ppm, nitrites - 0 , ammonia - 0, temp - 78
  • 1 cave
I feed my fish twice day and keep the lights on 12 hours per day.

Cichlids: Ken's pellets, Extreme Cichlid Crumbles, bloodworms every 7-10 days, Ken's flakes, romaine lettuce every now and then (they usually just tear up most of it and I fish I out)

Community: Ken's pellets, Tetra floating cichlid food, Ken's flakes, zucchini or peas every other day, bloodworms every 7-10 days

Rare/Endangered: Ken's pellets, Ken's flakes alternated with shrimp flakes, zucchini or peas every other day, bloodworms every 7-10 days

Future Plans

My fish dream is to have true Zebra plecos. The ultimate dream fish would be a breeding pair of Zebra plecos. I would like to add a 40 breeder for raising plecos. Adding more rocks to the cichlid tank is definitely in my plans. What about tanks? More tanks and bigger tanks are the only way to go.


Without the mentorship and friendship of Dino and Ross, I wouldn't be where I am today. They inspired my son. They convinced me that fish keeping is something even a mom can do. Their knowledge gave me the courage to keep working with cichlids. Their faith in FishLore gave me the confidence to find new friends on FishLore and the ability to trust the information from Their generosity enabled me to keep fish I would not have otherwise discovered.

Cory has been a great influence. He's helped me reset the cichlid rocks a dozen times, was instrumental in my repeated exposure to MTS, and created a need for us to go the ACA convention. Ken, my husband, helps finance my habit and cares for my fishes in my absence.

Fish Photos
Rare Endangered Species Tank Metriaclimia greshakei Juvenile Pleco Dino and Ross Community Tank Cichlid Tank 2 Cichlid Tank Male Msobo Cichlid Female Msobo Cichlid Breeding Veiltail Angelfish Breeding Pleco 2 Breeding Pleco Breeding Angelfish Albino Ice Blue Cichlid

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