Saturday, July 14, 2018

How to Raise Cory Catfish Fry



Apparently your cory catfish have been, ahem, gettin’ busy, and there are white little eggs all over your glass. Babies! So what in the world do you do now? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about raising corydoras fry.

How to Breed Cory Catfish

Okay, for most of you, breeding corydoras was probably an accident, but here’s what you can do to encourage it. For me, I had a 20 gallon tank with 6 adult-sized albino cory catfish (to increase my chances of having enough males and females). To get them in the mood, condition them by feeding lots of good food, and then do some water changes with fresh water a few degrees cooler than normal. Next thing you know, everyone’s gettin’ frisky, the males are chasing the females and doing the T-shaped mating position, and then the female lays sticky eggs on any ol’ flat surface around.

Female albino corydoras carrying newly fertilized eggs in her pelvic fins
Female albino cory catfish carrying newly fertilized eggs in her pelvic fins

How to Collect Corydoras Eggs

If you leave the eggs alone, it’s like a natural form of population control because most of them will get eaten. However, if you want maximum survival rate, remove the eggs with a credit card or your finger (my preference) and put them either in a grow-out tank or use a smaller container with no holes that floats in the main tank. Add an air stone for gentle water agitation and put a few drops of methylene blue to prevent fungal growth. And then perform daily 50% water changes as needed.

The fertilized eggs turn clearish yellow-brown, whereas the unfertilized eggs turn solid white. Remove the unfertilized eggs so they won’t grow fungus that spreads to the fertilized eggs. After the eggs hatch in 2 to 5 days, clear out the methylene blue from the water.

Cory catfish fertilized eggs, unfertilized eggs, and 1-day-old newly hatched fry with yolk sac
1 solid white unfertilized egg - second from the right (upper left box), 2 fertilized eggs (upper right box), and 1-day-old newly hatched corydoras fry with their yolk sacs (bottom boxes)

Where to Raise Corydoras Fry

I’ve used both breeder baskets and grow-out tanks, and I now prefer the latter. My plastic breeder basket had slits at the bottom that the fry kept falling out of (when they were less than 3 weeks old), and the mesh breeder basket had corners that the fry kept getting stuck in. The grow-out tank I used was just a 10-gallon clear plastic tub I normally keep as my quarantine tank, and I feel like the larger volume kept the water cleaner and gave the fry more swimming room to avoid stunted growth.

To keep the water quality high, I did 50% water changes 3 to 4 times a week with a large siphon, covered with a filter media bag and thick rubber band to prevent casualties. To remove fish waste or uneaten food, you can siphon with airline tubing. I like to tie a chopstick to the vacuuming end (for easier maneuverability) and then clamp the other end of the tube into a net or bucket so you can catch any escapees.


Top view of 2-week-old albino cory catfish fry in a plastic breeder container
Top view of 2-week-old albino corydoras fry in a breeder basket

What to Feed Corydoras Fry

In the first 1 to 2 days, the cory catfish are still feeding off their yolk sac so don’t give them anything to eat. After that I feed the fry about 2 to 3 times a day. Each week I introduce a new kind of food and then alternate between the different foods for greater variety and nutrition.

  • Week 1: I feed Hikari First Bites or other powdered fry food. Don’t use your fingers because the dust just gets stuck under your fingernail. Just stick a chopstick in the bag to collect a little food and then swirl it around in the fry tank to make the powder sink. I don’t use egg yolk because it’s too messy and crushed flakes float too much for the catfish fry to reach.
  • Week 2: I add frozen baby brine shrimp to the menu. It kinda looks like pink liquid when you feed it to them because the particles are so small.
  • Week 3: I introduce the straight-up, raw powder form of Repashy Community Plus gel food. (I don’t bother making the gel until they’re a little bigger.)
  • Week 4: The fry now get frozen daphnia or frozen cyclops, depending on what I can find at my local fish store.
What to feed baby corydoras fry
A variety of cory catfish fry foods, such as Hikari First Bites, frozen baby brine shrimp, frozen daphnia, and Repashy Community Plus gel foods

Once the fry can eat adult food and they’re too big to be eaten by the other fish, they can join adults (usually around 1.5 to 3 months old). Remember, the longer they spend in fry tank with no food competition, the faster and bigger they’ll grow.

When to Cull Fry

No one likes to talk about culling, but if a fry has a genetic defect that shouldn’t be passed on, consider euthanizing that fish. I had an issue where one of my biggest fry had a crooked spine, and while it didn’t seem to hinder him, I couldn’t in good conscience allow him to spread the disorder to future generations. (I personally use clove oil for humane fish euthanasia.)

How to Rehome Fry

With my first batch of eggs, I ended up with about 15 healthy fry that were big enough to join the community tank. However, that means my aquarium is kinda on the overstocked side. If you’ve got a population boom, consider giving fry away to friends, selling them through your local fish club or Craigslist, or giving them to a fish store (where you may or may not get store credit). Unless you have a super rare species of corydoras, you’re probably not going to get a lot of money from them, but hey, most of us are in this hobby because we love it, not necessary to make rent.

3.5-month-old albino cory catfish hanging out with his parents

Question of the Day

What’s your favorite type of fish to breed and why? Comment below so I can get some ideas for my next breeding project. If you like this video, hit that subscribe button and follow me on Instagram for daily updates. Good luck with your cory catfish and I’ll see you next time!

Related Links
How To Raise Corys The Easy Way, From Egg To Adult
So You Want to Breed Corys?
Hatching & Raising Cory Fry


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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Learning to Say No to People Pleasing

Learning to Say No to People Pleasing

I've always been super conflict adverse as a kid and now an adult, carefully avoiding saying anything controversial to keep the peace. After all, doesn't the Bible say, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (Romans 12:18)? While that verse is certainly truth, I now know my heart has always been in the wrong place, had the wrong motivation. In reality, I have an unhealthy fear of man, instead of an appropriate fear of God.

book nerd icon
Being good at school will make me feel loved and respected, right?

As a child, I was always the good little girl, eager to win my parents' and teachers' praise. If I did everything right, I was worthy, valuable, special, loved. In middle school, my natural introversion made it hard for me to make friends, which seeded great doubts and insecurities into my heart. As the song goes, "Nobody likes me, Everybody hates me, Guess I'll go eat worms." While I was fortunate to have a close-knit group of friends in high school, apparently the hurt was still there. I deliberately attended an out-of-state college where no one knew me and reinvented myself as "outgoing, talkative Anne" who had lots of friends and activities to keep me busy.

Unfortunately, these old wounds continued to haunt me in adulthood since, at the core, I still desperately feared being disliked and rejected by others. My early years of marriage with Mr. Gamer were rough. I tended to stuff areas of disagreement deep inside (because I wanted to be a "good wife"), only to have them blow up a couple of months later in front of my confused husband's face. "But I just wanted to eat pizza at home tonight, not go out. Why are you crying?" he would ask.

eating pizza and Italian food icon
It's never really a fight about pizza, is it?

Mr. Gamer is truly my match made in heaven because he is my complete opposite – extroverted, strong-willed, a born leader. If he wanted his way, usually he got it because of his overwhelming personality and because I hated to disappoint the one I loved most. Obviously that's not healthy in the long run for one spouse to always give in to the other. By marrying Mr. Gamer, I was forced to come out of my shell, to stand up to the challenge, to be iron sharpening iron. And by standing up to my husband and absorbing some of his force of will, I've become stronger and less of a pushover gradually over time. But the awkwardness and fear of others' opinions still exist.

I just finished reading When People Are Big and God is Small, written by a Christian counselor for people-pleasers. The content is biblically solid and several key points stuck out to me:
  • Why fear man over God when He is so much bigger in every way? (Matthew 10:28)
  • As one of God's children, He fully accepts (not rejects) me with rejoicing and singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
  • "Need other people less. Love other people more." (Chapter 11 of the book)
While the book isn't one of my favorites, God really used it as a conversation starter between me and Him to dig deeper into my fear of man and feelings of unworthiness. Yes, I'm still maturing when it comes to making God my end-all and be-all, but at this point in my walk right now, He wants to pour His love on me and make sure I understand it in all its ramifications. Slowly but surely, He's bringing out the "real Anne," the introvert who also has a will of her own, who has wisdom that is worth considering, and who has beauty worth uncovering.

playing and holding hands icon
"Need other people less. Love other people more."

P.S. I don't know if this will help anyone out there, but God left me with some personal words that I'd like to share with you:
You are forever accepted, wanted, loved, and found worthy!
Believe it, dear daughter. Just as you love your children and delight over them and know their precious value, you too are adored and cherished by Me.
Never call yourself unattractive, unworthy, unloved.
Your path is not the path of men and cannot be understood by them.
Only I can understand you fully and completely and forever!
Know that if you're serious about your relationship with God, He will pursue you, He will love you, and He will make you like Jesus Christ for His glory. All you have to do is be willing to peel back those painful layers and let Him do the surgery and healing it takes, so that you truly can love Him with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind. ğŸ¤—

Related Links

Lay Aside the Fear of Man

Question of the Day

Do you struggle with people pleasing, and if so, how did you learn to say no? Comment below to share your answers!


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DISCLAIMER: Consult a licensed psychologist, therapist, counselor, etc. for professional treatment concerning life issues and mental health problems. The information shared here is general advice and my personal opinion on the topic, and I shall not be liable for any losses or damages related to the content of the article. Please use your own discretion to evaluate the presented information and seek professional help when needed.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

How to Raise a Bilingual Child



So you wanna teach your kid another language, but you’re kinda intimidated because you don’t think you have the skills. Well, I’m no a right-brained linguist and English is definitely my native tongue, so keep reading to find out how I’m casually raising my kids to be bilingual.

How I Heard About Bilingualism

Okay, full disclosure: I learned Chinese from my parents growing up. But they were pretty lax about making me speak it, and once I started school, it wasn’t really a priority. Speaking Chinese to them was super slow and cumbersome, so I just used English with them. Fast-forward to adulthood: I’m married with no kids. I have a conference call with a coworker who happened to be working from home that day. Suddenly she says, “Hold on a second” and then proceeds to yell across the house at her children in rapid fire Spanish. What the… my coworker is a white, blonde woman and her Spanish has a definite, heavy American accent. Still, I’m impressed. What’s going on here?

How to Teach Your Kid a Second Language

Tip 1: My coworker proceeds to tell me the simple secret to raising bilingual kids: You only use the foreign language to speak to your child and they are only allowed to speak back to you in that language. So when my kids slip up and use English with me, I say in Chinese, “Huh? What is this 'pancake' you speak of?” and basically make them repeat it to me in Chinese. Or I teach them the Chinese word if they don’t know. “Ohhh, you're referring to ‘song bing’.”

Tip 2: Start when they’re babies because kids are total sponges. None of my children ever had noticeable speech delays from learning a foreign language. So even if you’re not great at Spanish after taking 8 years of classes, that’s okay because with babies, you’re just pointing at things and saying simple phrases. Like, the English equivalent would be “Look, it’s a dog! See the dog? Such a good dog. Want to pet the doggy?” And since you’re starting off slow, eventually always using Spanish with your kid will become habit.


Tip 3: If you have multiple kids, try to get them to use the foreign language to talk to each other, at least when you’re around. My younger brother’s Chinese ain’t so good because, well, I only spoke English around him when he was born, sooo he was kinda doomed. Now I tell my son all the time, “If you don’t speak Chinese to your sister, she’s never gonna learn it! We’re, like, her only sources of Chinese, so come on… help a girl out.”

Tip 4: If you want to pass on multiple languages, you can do things like assign each spouse a different language that they teach, or designate certain times of the day to Russian only, Korean only, etc.

What If I’m Monolingual?

Some of you might be thinking, “Multiple languages?? I only speak one! What do I do now?” Well, while listening to French songs or watching kids movies in Spanish may help, studies have shown that conversations with a native speaker does wonders, especially if it’s daily. So check out this list of options for you to consider:
  • Use a native-speaking caretaker (like a nanny or family member)
  • Hire a tutor (I’ve practiced Chinese with kids in their homes as my side hustle)
  • Enroll them in language classes or send them to an immersion school
  • Attend cultural meetup groups and organize playdates with native speakers’ kiddos
  • If you have the money, travel to that foreign country during summer breaks. You’ll be amazed at how fast they learn, especially if no one around them understands English.

Obstacles to Bilingualism

I’m not going to lie: it’s an uphill battle. People talk about how great it is knowing multiple languages, but it takes patience and persistence, especially on your part. The brain wants to take the path of least resistance, so kids are going to want to speak the community language you’re surrounded by, especially once they get older and go to school. You may also meet some resistance from your spouse if they only speak English because, hey, they can’t understand you and no one likes feeling left out.

My hardest challenge? I feel like my Chinese skills are inadequate because I don’t know how to say even the simplest kids words like “hop” or “skip” or “let’s play hide and go seek." If you don’t know how to say something, download a language dictionary app for your phone or text a native speaker to find out. And trust me, your baby won’t laugh if your accent is horrible, so just keep practicing and doing your best. 😊

Final Word: Have Fun With it!

A lot of people are huge advocates for multilingualism and it’s become their identity. I’m not one of those people. Learning another language is just for fun, it’s educational, and yeah, maybe they’ll be able to use it in business or to meet new friends one day. At the end of the day, I have other priorities in life for my kids, like developing their character and spiritual beliefs. So for our family, learning Chinese is a connection to their heritage (and it’s a pretty cool party trick).


Question of the Day

Do you have any tips for teaching your kids another language? Let me know by commenting below to share your experiences.

Related Links
5 Steps to Teach Your Child a Foreign Language
How to Teach Your Kid a Second Language Even if You Suck at It


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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Dealing with Your Partner’s Weight Gain After Marriage


So the other day, my husband Mr. Gamer asked me if I thought he was overweight. Eeee, what do you say that?! Do you go with brutal honesty, white lies, or somewhere in between? I think this brings up a really good question: what do you do if your spouse is overweight and may or may not want to do something about it? So I decided to ask Mr. Gamer, who graciously offered to share his thoughts. In part 1 of the interview, we talked about what to say in a marriage if one spouse tells the other that they’re concerned about an unhealthy weight gain. Key topics included:
  • What if you’re not attracted to your partner anymore? Do you bring it up?
    • There are plenty of things to love about your spouse besides physical appearance, so choose your battles carefully.
    • Honesty is the best policy, but do so with extreme kindness and sensitivity.
  • What if your partner says they’re not attracted to you anymore? How do you take it?
    • If you're receiving the feedback, evaluate whether or not you think it's a valid point and if you are satisfied with your own health.

Interview – Part 1



In part 2, we continued the topic with a discussion on how to accept and support your partner on their weight loss journey. Key points included:

  • Ultimately you can't change your partner, so accept them for who they are and appreciate them in other ways.
  • Be patient because weight loss will not be overnight.
  • View fitness as a family goal, and work together to adapt healthy habits.
  • Seek professional medical advice if necessary.
  • Ask them what their fitness goals are and how you can best support them on their journey.

Interview – Part 2



Question of the Day

How many of you are in a situation where one partner is overweight, and how does the other partner in the marriage support them in their journey? Comment below because we definitely want to hear about your experiences.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

4 Ways to Support Your Spouse’s Hobbies (and Vice Versa)



What do you do if your significant other has hobbies that you’re completely not interested in? For example, my husband enjoys gaming while I like keeping aquarium fish and making videos. The short answer is be respectful and courteous to each other! In this video, I’ll be talking about 4 ways you and your partner can support and encourage each other’s passions and interests, without necessarily joining them. 😉

P.S. This content is aimed at people who have a healthy passion for their hobbies, not a problem or addiction. Please consult a licensed counselor, psychologist, etc. to seek professional help if needed.

Related Links

What to Do When Hobbies Steal Your Spouse
Three Ways to Keep Your Hobbies and Your Marriage
5 Things You Can do When Hobbies Threaten to Overtake Your Marriage

DISCLAIMER: Consult a licensed psychologist, therapist, counselor, etc. for professional treatment concerning life issues and mental health problems. The information shared here is general advice and my personal opinion on the topic, and I shall not be liable for any losses or damages related to the content of the video. Please use your own discretion to evaluate the presented information and seek professional help when needed.

Question of the Day

How do you support your partner’s hobbies? Comment below to share your answers!


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Saturday, May 26, 2018

How to Set Up an Easy Betta Planted Tank | Hack My Betta Tank



Welcome back to another episode of “Hack My Betta Tank”! This episode teaches you how to transform a 5 gallon aquarium into an easy planted tank for your betta (or other nano fish). The goal is to set up a low-maintenance, low tech tank that’s beginner friendly, so we’ll be using an LED light on a timer, all-in-one fertilizers, no CO2 injection, and slow-growing plants that don’t require a lot of pruning.

Related Link: DIY Filter Upgrade for 5 Gallon Starter Aquarium

Equipment List

Petsmart Top Fin® 5 Gallon Glass Aquarium
Carib Sea Eco-Complete planted aquarium substrate (black)
Finnex Stingray LED clip-on light
Mechanical timer for lights
Aqueon Pro adjustable heater (50W)
Digital thermometer with high/low temperature alarm
Foam filter sponges
Ceramic bio rings
Filter insert bags
Aquascaping tweezers

Plants List

Staurogyne repens
Aquatic banana plant
Bucephalandra

Fertilizer List

Easy Green all-in-one liquid fertilizer
Easy Root Tabs substrate fertilizer

Question of the Day

What's your favorite plant for a betta tank? Comment below to share your answers!


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

I Tried Following a Terrarium Tutorial by SerpaDesign!



I love trying out new things (especially if they’re cheap and easy), so I just had to try out SerpaDesign’s DIY tutorial for making a free closed terrarium using items from nature. I’ll admit, I did have to spend a little money (cost analysis included), but I’m pretty happy with the results. Check out my 4-minute step-by-step video of how I made my first terrarium!

References

Make an AWESOME Terrarium for FREE!

Question of the Day

Have you ever made a closed terrarium and if so, how long did it last? Comment below to share your experiences!


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