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About Jess

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    The Quiet Type

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  1. Hi Frank. In the end, I didn't get nerite snails. My water is very soft, I remineralize to 5-6 dGH - a happy balance for the needs of both my plants and fish - but I don't feel like that's enough for nerite snails long-term. My pond and ramshorn snails don't get over-populated...the population always stays about the same. They do a fantastic job cleaning up decaying/dying plant matter and I really think they play a crucial role in my tank's stability (I can go even a couple of weeks without a water change, if necessary, without excess algae growth). My original ramshorns (from January) have all died by now I think...and I find their shells sometimes with a lot of holes in them. 😔 So I think ramshorns prefer harder water than pond snails. Seeing this, I definitely wouldn't put nerites in - for the sake of their own wellbeing. But if you have hard water, they should be totally fine. I hope that's helpful!
  2. This is one I really want to try. Not sure my chili rasboras would eat it (not midwater) or my licorice grouamis (because they like to hunt their food), but I want to try it when I get new fish! I'm also gonna try the Co-op's Fry Food. I was hesitating between that and the Sera Micron...I think I went with the Sera because I wasn't sure it would work out and didn't want to waste a giant bottle of food! Also, the Sera Micron is a super-fine powder so I've been experimenting with feeding it to my BBS to try and keep them alive a little longer. I feel really bad about the ones that die before I get a chance to feed them to my fish...I mean, they die either way but I don't want to waste their lives (maybe I'm a weird person though, LOL).
  3. This is such a cool idea! I'm gonna try that with my Sera Micron. I'd like to try the Vibra Bites and Bug Bites someday too.
  4. Such a great mix! I haven't tried microworms yet, but I really want to.
  5. Wondering what you guys like to feed your tiny nano fish! I have a dozen chili rasboras, and I have tried several foods for them: Xtreme Nano Pellets are too big (they constantly spit them out; I wouldn't consider this a nano fish food despite the name). Sera Micron is too small (it just floats on the surface and makes a mess, and it's really annoying to get it out of the bottle...I would not buy it again!). BBS is a bit hit (no surprise there) Hikari Fancy Guppy food they also love (these are tinier than the Xtreme Nano) Hikari freeze-dried tubifex worms (they do eat these...but not that exuberantly; main problems are that tiny pieces of a cube don't stick to the aquarium glass like a full cube will, and this food floats and the chilis don't prefer getting their food from the surface) Hikari frozen bloodworms (again, they kinda like these but they have to be manually pulverized and they tend to sink too quickly to be practical) I want to try Hikari Micro Pellets next. And I also need to get more fish that will eat all these foods I bought, LOL. 🤣 FWIW, here I'm considering nano fish to be fish that are under 3/4" or 2cm. I also keep licorice gouramis and I don't consider those nano fish. They only eat BBS, but that's a different story (spoiled little micro-predators 🤣😆 ).
  6. This has been helpful for me as well...ugh I don't want to treat my tank with Planaria Zero (or anything else, actually). I keep licorice gourami and chili rasboras. My hydra outbreak is really out of control now (they're over every square inch of glass just about, and also on my plants) because I feel so much BBS. I actually see them catch and sting the BBS (which is kinda cool, I will admit). I stopped feeding BBS on Saturday and I haven't seen any reduction. I'm afraid my fish will eventually starve or just become weakened and succomb to disease (they're all wild caught, unfortunately). I have Xtreme Nano and I also bought Sera Micron from Co-op and it arrived Saturday. Xtreme Nano pellets are too big for the chili rasboras (a couple of them can eat them...but many of them spit them out), and my licorice gouramis are just not at all into any food that isn't moving. They probably eat a couple of pellets of Xtreme Nano per day...but...yeah I'm not sure how long it is safe to continue trying to starve my hydra. EDIT: can't treat with Planaria Zero because it's practically unavailable in the U.S., apparently
  7. This is so cool! What a great memory. I was just thinking how much I wish I had photos of my dad and me with my fish tank.
  8. Like many who have already posted, I had my first tank as a kid in the 90's. It was a 29-gallon that lived at our dentist's office and I would beg to stay and watch it. The receptionist asked my mom if we wanted it, and I'm not sure who was more thrilled when Mom said, "ok." We kept community fish. I loved it even more once I knew my dad enjoyed it, too. He said watching the fish was relaxing and more fun than watching TV. I killed his joy by adding a school of danios in there...LOL. I "caught the bug" again being around my partner's niece who loves to catch all manner of fish and keep them. I have 60L set up since December; I saved for 6 months and got a rimless tank, aquasoil, CO2, built a light and a stand, tons of plants...it's AMAZING and brings me so much joy. I write code and analyze data for a living, and one of the greatest benefits of WFH has been going out to watch the tank for 5-10 minutes when I'm stuck on a hard problem. It "unsticks" my brain much better than a walk around my office floor. Cory's quote at the end of his recent video about his top 10 underappreciated community fish - "They're all really amazing and I really love fish," basically sums on how I feel about the hobby.
  9. Ok I did some research myself and, yes, your substrate is buffering your water and lowering pH a little. It's fine - it was decided to do this and there is no point in fighting it. May I ask why you would prefer a higher KH? Almost all the videos and advice you see assumes you're using something called "inert substrate" - basically, gravel or sand (or Eco Complete, which is like an inert gravel + fertilizer, or the Flourish substrates). So when they say, "Low KH will cause pH swings," that does NOT apply to you and me (people using "aqua soils," that is, a substrate that lowers your pH and your KH). Aqua soils (e.g. Fluval Stratum, ADA Amazonia, UNS Contra Soil, nilogC Platinum, the Dennerle one...there are a lot of them) are "high tech" substrates that are designed to lower your pH and "soften your water (that is, lower KH). It's because they are decided to help plants grow, and these are the "optimal" conditions for most plants: soft, slightly acidic water. The aragonite and stuff you're adding isn't hurting anything. But it is exhausting your soil faster than it otherwise would. I don't think that's a big problem for you...whenever the soil becomes depleted, you'll be fine because your tap water's KH is very close to what the aragonite+buffering substrate is yielding in your tank. I know it sounds counterintuitive when every video you see says "your KH should be in this range, your GH in this range, pH in this range," etc., but if you could ask Cory in person I am certain he could explain aqua soils even better than me. I was in your EXACT situation just 3 months ago...I started adding baking soda to my water to raise the KH and luckily the same day I made a post on plantedtank.net asking about it, and they told me, "Don't bother trying to raise your KH...the soil sucks it out of the water...it's fine...your pH will stay stable, just let the soil do its thing," and they were totally right. My tank is super low maintenance: pH = 6.0-6.4, KH = 0, GH = 4 (I use Seachem Equilibrium, 1/2 tsp to 5 gallons of water each week during my water change). My rain water values (I don't use tap, I use rain water in my tanks) are: pH 6.8, KH = 2, GH = 1. Anyway, this is a super long post to say: your tank looks awesome! You should post some updated photos with the fish! And don't worry about your KH or pH. Your substrate is trying to do what it was designed to do, which is to make your water soft and slightly acidic. Low KH, in your case, is not a problem.
  10. This is way late...I actually started reading this because I have the same tank! I thought I'd add: have you tried testing the KH of your tap water? I think Fluval Stratum is a buffering substrate. That would mean it strips KH from the water column, which is not a problem at all actually. It will buffer your water against pH swings. My aqua soil functions this way in my existing 17-gallon, which is almost 3 months old. The KH of my water is 0-1 degrees, always. It's 2 out of the tap (and my GH is also around 2). I have NO problems EVER with pH swing...and I use pressurized CO2. My pH ranges from 6.0 (possibly a little lower...that's the lowest on the API scale) to 6.4, but it's always very stable. It's 6.4 after a water change and steadily drops to 6.0 over the course of a week or so. Anyway, I just wanted to add that bit about the Fluval Stratum. I've seen a ton of people keep trying to raise their KH when they're using aquasoils that are literally designed to remove KH from the water and hold it in the soil...I don't know why they insist on that...the buffering is just the aquasoil doing its job. So, if your tap water has a measurable KH but your tank water doesn't, maybe do a bit of research and see if Fluval Stratum is a "buffering" substrate. If I'm right and it is, you don't need the aragonite or crushed coral (in fact, they'll just wear out your Fluval Stratum faster).
  11. Thanks, everyone! I had an extra Ziss valve lying around (came with the Ziss hatchery, ironically I wasn't using it LOL), so I hooked that up and now it works perfectly. So, definitely the USB Nano pump can provide enough air at least to two lines, but you need a valve on each line. Also added the check valve down to the hatchery. Thanks for that reminder!
  12. I'm trying to run air to both my tank and my BBS hatchery. I thought this was a pretty simply endeavor: plug in Aquarium Co-op's AMAZING nano pump, then plug in two different outputs at the ends of the t splitter. But air only comes out one side (down to the BBS hatchery). I have checked that the valve is totally opened up....I clamped it all the way down and then opened it all the way up. So it's not that. Any clues? Is it because one is lower than the USB nano pump and the other is higher, so it doesn't send air up? Pictures below...I'm sorry they are pretty bad. 1. USB Nano connected to airline T splitter 2. One end of splitter goes into the tank: 3. Other end goes down to my BBS hatchery
  13. Hahahaha that’s an amazing name! I love it. Are those the livebearing type? I think the ones I’m looking to get are egg layers...man, it would be SO COOL to raise baby halfbeaks!!!
  14. That’s what I was hoping...and too small to be interested. I feed BBS for other fish that are micro predators, so that’s what I would feed the halfbeaks too.
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