2020 has afforded me a lot of free time... With Craigslist I have been able to score 4 tanks, 3 stocked and one that had just been torn down (10g, 20g, 29g and a 55g). I will say a lot of my decisions have been guided by hours of watching Aquarium Co-op's videos, so if anything this is a long "thank you" letter to Aquarium Co-op as well as others sharing their knowledge and experience.
The 20g tank- had a decent sized black moor goldfish, two angel fish, one cory, a guppy, a stick catfish, a platy and a molly. It was a community tank of horrors (though everyone was alive and no fin nipping I could see). Scaped with dragon stone and two swords plants. When I picked it up the hob filter had been broken for a couple of days. I immediately re-homed the goldfish and the angel fish to my lfs. I put the guppy into a mutt guppy tank tank. I will probably re-home everyone but the stick catfish at some point. The good news was that I was able to get the parameters dialed in over a few weeks and had a tank open for quarantine. My wife had said we could get a Tetraodon schoutedeni at some point and I happened to find one from a reputable vendor. Then I started the first of two ramshorn snail colonies. I believe he's a male and yet to name him but has a great personality. My daughter loves watching him and feeding him.
The 55g tank- so then I got thinking, "what's better than one puffer? More puffers." I found someone getting rid of a 55g that had recently tore it down and was willing to deliver. I have an industrial table that's rated to hold north of 1000lbs but I want to stay on the safe side so 55g was a big as I wanted to go.
I had been running an extra sponge filter so that helped get cycled along with 6 glowlight tetras added after 4-5 weeks.
Hard scape and plants from a lfs, plants from Aquabid and a number of plants from Aquarium Co-op. I went for ADA Amazonia soil with a partial sand cap. I have been watching a lot of aquascaping videos (one of my other hobbies is growing rare orchids from Central and South America). The ADA soil definitely turned my water yellow and plays with your ammonia tests with having ammonium.
Aside from a trio of puffers I knew I wanted a cory community. Was able to find a group of 9 Corydoras eques and I am planning to bump to 12 or 15 depending on final stocking. They are awesome to watch.
Still not sure what I am going to do for dither fish, likely rasboras or danios. Debating on getting a reticulated hillstream loach and/or a Siamese algae eater. I know I am going to be dropping the pH with RO water at some point for breeding so need all inhabitants to be happy with that. Not sure if I will put any cherry shrimp in it or not. Part of the idea is to breed puffers and Corydoras but limit the potential for eggs being eaten. I have a "time-out" tank ready for my male if I can get two females to complete my trio. In addition to the ramshorns I started a scud tank and will be working on black worms and starting an infusoria culture this winter.
I upgraded my lighting today and that's the latest picture. I am planning to add more moss and possibly fill out the right side of the tank with something else, maybe anubias or a large species of fern. I may change the plants in the middle a little too before adding my puffer to his new home.
Right now the 10g is being used for quarantine and I have ramshorns, pond snails, guppies and cherry shrimp in the 29g.
Still a lot to do but enjoying the journey so far! Pics are my puffer, the 20g the day I got it home, and evolution of the 55g over the last month.