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Say hello to my new (not so) little friend


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This is my new friend, Casper. He's a rare leucistic coloration of Amphilophus Sagittae, an absolute beast of a Central American cichlid, apparently native to Nicaragua. He's currently about 12 inches long and is solo in a 125 gallon in my garage, mostly because he will straight murder anything you put in there with him, be it plant or animal. He's even been known to bite those who are bold enough to try to clean his tank.


As for how I came to acquire this absolute unit of a fish:

I was out of the hobby for about ten years until getting back into it during quarantine. I work from home anyway, but the extra time at home meant needing to find something to do and I can only remodel my house so much. In the span of 6 months, I went from a single 10 gallon tank to over 500 gallons of water in my house. I've previously kept mostly tetras and livebearers throughout the years, but big fish were never really on my radar.

I had a 75 gallon tank in my garage that I was waiting to move inside after the painting in my living room was done. I liked the size of the 75 gallon, but I had also really loved the idea of a big 125 and had built a custom stand that would accommodate one if I decided to go that route, thinking it would be hard to convince my wife to get a tank that big, especially since a previous 75 gallon had leaked all over our floor...all while I was 400 miles away and I had to Facetime her way through draining the tank and moving the fish.

I routinely cruise through OfferUp and Craigslist looking for used tanks that look promising. (I don't know what it is about used tanks, but all the used tanks I've gotten don't have algae issues. I don't know what it is.) At one point, I happened across a posting of someone who was being forced to get rid of all their tanks and fish for reasons they didn't really say. There were three 125 gallon tanks filled with various cichlids and other fish I wasn't super familiar with. I bookmarked it, just to kind of keep an eye on it, but not really thinking it was a possibility. I moved my 75 into the house, full aquascaped and put community fish in. The tank itself looked great (if I do say some myself), but a 4 foot tank looks awkward on a 6 foot stand. I needed a 125. I casually mentioned it to my wife and she was surprisingly on board. I think she's secretly just as into it as me, but she knows if she shows more than a reluctant curiosity, that we'll end up with even more thanks. Plus, she had just adopted two dogs from the Humane Society, so she owes me one.

I revisited the original posting and saw that prices had dropped on the tank setups and all the fish were now free. Things were obviously getting desperate. I don't know the exact situation, but if you know what rents have been doing in the Pacific Northwest lately, you can probably guess. I wanted to help out if I could and we started messaging back and forth. I could see that he really had a love for his fish, especially Casper, and I had original inquired about taking all three tanks and all the livestock in the process. I researched all the fish that he had and didn't feel confident in my ability to care for that many (soon to be) large fish. In the time that I was researching, he ended up selling one of the tanks, which made my job a little easier. I offered to buy the two remaining tanks and foster Casper until the owner could be in a situation where he could take him back. I know it was tough for him to give up Casper, but I'll do my best to give him a good home in the meantime.

I think he was a little cranky about being moved at first, but has since settled in nicely and I feel like he's been much more interactive in the last few days. He didn't seem to want to eat much for the first few days, but yesterday, I went to feeding him around his normal mid-day feeding time and he was much more agreeable to eating. That's OK. I'm not a morning person either...

I turned Casper's original tank into a planted community tank and combined all the sand with the sand from the other tank I bought so Casper has plenty of landscaping material to work with. He's dug himself a nice little pit in the back that he hangs out in when he wants to hide. Other than that, he's been exploring around and making himself at home. He hasn't bitten me yet, but I'm definitely very aware of where he is whenever I have my hands in the tank. He did very deliberately spit a whole mouthful of sand at me yesterday, though. I'm going to say that means "You seem cool. Let's be friends.". You can see him spitting some more sand in the video below.

I've never really thought about having such a big fish like this, but he's been really cool so far. Despite being a murderous little death machine, he's got quite the personality and will definitely interact with me, either chasing my finger around or coming to check out anything I'm doing when I'm working in the garage. I'm already a big fan of him and my family likes him too. My kids like "playing" with him, having him chase their finger across the tank and my wife has nicknamed him "Frank the Tank". The new dogs, who are super jumpy, even seem to like him. He's on a built-bench in the garage now, but with how active he is and how fun he is to watch, I might have to see about making him some space inside. I've always found the bubbling of a sponge filter very soothing, but the gentle waterfall of the couple AquaClear 110's is quite pleasant, too. I'm thinking there might be something to these bigger fish...

I don't have a time table for when the original owner can take him back, but right now I'm in no hurry. He's since set up a GoFundMe to help him buy a car to live out of until he can figure out a more permanent living situation. If you'd like to help a fellow fishkeeper get back on his feet, check it out here: https://gofund.me/9ac57a1a Or don't. That's not why I'm here. I just wanted to show off what I thought was a really cool new friend.




Edited by B1gJ4k3
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On 7/29/2021 at 11:12 PM, B1gJ4k3 said:

Despite being a murderous little death machine, he's got quite the personality and will definitely interact with me, either chasing my finger around or coming to check out anything I'm doing 

Casper is gorgeous! He seems very familiar too, some of my bigger fishes are exactly like this. It's a lot of fun to keep them despite the murderous attitude. 

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On 7/30/2021 at 12:03 AM, CalmedByFish said:

I love that comment about your wife owing you one. 😂

Before this year, I always gave her a lot of crap about how much she had spent on her pets (multiple surgeries, medications, treats, hundreds of toys they had no interest in). I don't really have room to talk anymore...

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Casper is lovely.  I had a King Kong earlier, he was just like a dog with so much personality.  I learned if I fed him first he wasn't so aggressive towards me.  Yes, he used to bite too.  @B1gJ4k3What goodwill to foster a fish in need, I hope one day they will be reunited, but right now he couldn't be in better hands. 

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