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About SWilson

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  1. One question about the rescapes, I had heard about how puffers enjoy frequent rescapes and changes to their environment to keep things interested and so I had fully intended on doing that. But I hesitated because I noticed that even just doing a water change and gravel vaccuming in the tank would send all six of them into an hours-long glass surfing tizzy. So I'm just not quite sure what to make of that. ---- Quick update as I haven't been able to do much because, well, life. The tank went 2 weeks without a water change and I noticed that two of the puffers have something going on with their tail fins - either ripping or fungus, but very slight. I did a big water change and cleaned out a lot of debris. But I removed a decent amount of hardscape and plants to open up more swimming space. I also moved the powerhead to the opposite side of the tank and towards the bottom to create more overall flow that should hopefully also help with some of the debris that was accumulating in the subwassertang and java moss. This seems to have helped a little...or the lil guys are hungrier because they seem to be coming to the front of the tank more. I also tried out the rooibos tea soaked water. I only did about 5 gallons as part of a roughly 20 gallon water change. But I love this look and will keep doing it with my water changes, 5 gallons at a time. I'll monitor the pH, but for now it hasn't budged and is still at 8 pH or slightly higher. But at least it's stable, I guess. Next step will be to add some new pieces of driftwood that should hopefully add even more tannins. My plan for the subwasstertang and java moss that I pulled out is to construct "plant walls" to stick to the sides and corners inside the tank where they like to surf the most. I also plan to get lamps to increase the light on the outside of the tank and reduce reflection on the inside of the glass. Other changes are to diet. I stopped giving them bloodworms every day and am now mixing in myssis shrimp and spirulina brine shrimp...it's like trying to get kids to eat their veggies after you've introduced them to McDonalds though lol. They are still getting a number of snails everyday, as many as I have time to pull out of the other tanks. Even though the glass surfing is still happening, I am feeling encouraged by these changes. My partner and I also talked about possibly getting a 125 down the road that we could share which the puffers could go into potentially with some suitable tankmates, which perhaps could make them less bored as well.
  2. Did it look anything like this? The pictures didn't even do it justice...there were white gelatinous blobs encasing all my driftwood, rocks, etc. It turned out to be run of the mill biofilm and disapeared on its own after another month or so.
  3. The company, in my limited experience with them, is pretty responsive and helpful - and that was even when I wasn't a paying customer so you could try to reach out. I'm sorry this happened to you. I'm not sure what it is with these little cories, but they do seem pretty sensitive. I recently had an experience where I got 7 habrosus cories (not from aquahuna - from a local store) and now I only have 4 left. All the deaths seemed to have differen't issues. I initially didn't medicate, just observed, but as I started losing them and I wasn't sure why I ran through all the meds. I think next time I will try the aquarium coop method of quarantining with meds at the start and see if that helps prevent losses. I agree that it would be helpful to know what your water parameters are to weigh in on whether a water change would be necessary now while you have meds in the tank.
  4. Been following these posts because I keep SAPs too. This is really hard....from your pictures it kinda looks more like ich to me, but given what that article said about how fast epistylis kills, if it were me and I just could not rule out epistylis over ich, I'd treat for that first and then if that doesn't help I'd then treat for ich. Good luck to your and your puffers...hope they get better soon.
  5. There is already a lot here, and so I don't mean to pile on, but I'm curious - how much ammonia is in your tank right now? And have you ever tested the water out of your tap to see if there is any ammonia in it? It can take up to at least a month to cycle, and as others have mentioned, with regular testing, you should be able to see the ammonia drop to zero, at which point you'll start getting nitrites, and then the nitites should drop to zero (which for some reason for me always takes much longer than the ammonia and is harder to be patient about because you're so close!), and then you'll start getting nitrates. Once the tank is fully cycled, you'll know because you can put a source of ammonia (food or a fish) into the tank and you should still be able to maintain 0 ammonia and nitrites, while nitrate levels increase (and ppl differ on the exact level - but you can set your water change schedule based on how high your nitrate levels get). When you say "brown leaves" do you mean leaves from live plants you bought that died and fell off, or like dried leaves (cattappa, etc.) that you intentionally put in there? I'm curious why your pH level is slightly acidic, or is that just normal for your tap water? The three water conditioners you mentioned will not help your tank cycle. Conditioners are primarily for removing chlorine from the water, and secondarily for detoxifying ammonia and/or nitrite if you have those in your water in case you have fish in there. (But will only detoxify for 24 hours and will not remove ammonia or nitrite, and overdosing the conditioner itself can be potentially harmful). You could try Fritzzyme 7 or Tetra safe start (bottled beneficial bacteria) to "boost" the cycle -- some ppl say those do not do anything (and they are certainly not necessarily, beneficial bacteria are already present), but I do feel like they worked for me. Even though they advertise it, I do not recommend adding fish right away even if you do use those -- I still waited at least a month to let the tank cycle after adding Fritzzyme 7 when I didn't have any established media available (filter or gravel from another already cycled tank). Good luck and keep us posted!
  6. lol welcome to multiple tank syndrome...it happens so fast! 😝 Even with the pygmy corydoras I personally would prefer to do it in the 10 gallon or bigger tank, becuase they like to be in even bigger groups than the panda or other bigger size cories. And even four fish is a decent amount of waste to manage in a 5 gallon, b/c of you have to feed enough to ensure the cories get enough food "down there". In the five gallon, you could also try shrimp or snail tankmates if you're interested in keeping those. I don't know if this is helpful at all for your space issue, but this video shows you how to make a cheap and sturdy aquarium stand with 2x4s and cinderblocks. I swear I am not "handy" and I managed to do this. I did cut the 2x4's down to the right size for my aquarium because I wasnt making a fishroom rack. Most hardware stores will do the cutting for you, but you'll have to be careful handling the wood unless you have a sander. I tried to make mine pretty by spraypainting the cinderblocks. (this is my 16 gal) There are also other threads on this forum where ppl have shared creative and low-cost alternatives for fish tank stands. Anyway, sorry for blowing up your thread so much! and absolutely not trying to tell you what to do. you seem to be already really knowledgeable and know what you want to do.
  7. It could be a bacterial bloom (best guess not knowing anything else about the tank or water parameters). You may have deduced that already if you've been doing your own research and reading Coop advice articles. You could try adding more stuff in there (substrate, decorations, woods, plants real or fake, rocks, intake filter sponge, etc) - the idea being to create more surface area for your beneficial bacteria to grow on. From what I understand, bacterial blooms resulting in cloudy water happen when other bacteria (which aren't necessarily harmful) outcompete the beneficial bacteria in the water. If it's a quarantine tank and you don't want to fill it with substrate or plants, maybe just try some removable decorations or rocks. Also how long has it been like that? It can take weeks for a bacterial bloom to clear up.
  8. You can always upgrate the kit tank over time. And who knows, his personality may mellow out with time. It may still be worthwhile to eventually upgrade to that 10 gallon, the increased volume will help maintain water quality. You could also try some bottom dwellers in the 10 gallon, which would occupy a different part of the water column than the betta. Some ppl find success with that. You'd want to add the betta, as the more territorial fish, after you add the other inhabitants. And then you'd have the 5 gallon as an available emergency quarantine tank. Good luck! hope his pretty tail heals up quickly!
  9. I think this video from Aquarium Coop explains it too: and prime time aquatics on YouTube also did a fairly deep dive on it.
  10. My partner has been working very hard to raise African Dwarf Frog tadpoles and we’ve finally got a small batch that have developed arms and legs. They’re being moved to a bigger tank that can have hopefully more stable water parameters. anyway they’re just so cool and adorable. We are really excited and wanted to share!
  11. I do think they would lower the pH, so I think you could add them but do so slowly and build them up over time. You could also get a KH test for your aquarium if you dont have one, the higher the KH, the better the water can stabilize against pH swings (that is grossly oversimplified for the level of knowledge/nermdom on this forum 🙃). Glad you're going for the blackwater look! I think that looks amazing with bettas, can't wait to see more pictures as it develops. I don't think so, but if you're worried about messing up your substrate, what I have done is bought the biomedia bag from aquarium coop, filled it with crushed coral, and put that in my hang on back filter or just stuck the bag in the tank. hmm...lots of light probably but that's counterproductive to the flashing problem! lol. I only have experience with duckweed and frogbit and those are really prolific -- would suggest going with the frogbit over the duckweed b/c duckweed is very small and will stick to your arms and seems impossible to get rid of if you change your mind. You can find frogbit online if your local store doesn't sell them.
  12. This is interesting because I also experienced a pH crash early on in one of my tanks, and another beginner mentioned the same thing. Though people always say that the pH will lower in your tank over time. Some crushed coral substrate can help keep it stable as well. you can do water changes in the meantime to keep up the pH b/c - while bettas naturally come from very low pH waters -- I agree with @James Black that stability is more important. The flaring is a very natural behavior for male bettas, and most betta keepers even keep mirrors and such to have them do it for exercise, but it does sound like he is doing it too much and that is causing stress. You could also try increasing the tannins in the water by adding cattappa (or indian almond leaves), alder cones, or pieces of driftwood - but that may very likely also lower the pH in your water so might be better to wait until that's more stable before doing so. You could also add floating plants to provide some cover - that will also reduce the level of light inside the tank. I don't have a betta currently but I do see glass surfing in new fish - I also do all the things you're doing (and I learned something here that I think will help me with the outside/inside light!) and they calm down in a few weeks. Sounds like you're doing great! Good luck with beautiful Big Mad.
  13. This is amazing! Thank you! I'm going to try this for my puffers, I was only able to get freeze dried black worms for them.
  14. This forum is definitely not helping my willpower not to convert my 10 gal quarantine tank into a betta tank 😝 Welcome! and hi Elmo! Beautiful tank and betta, can't wait to see your other household tanks!
  15. I agree it's possible it could be calcium deficiency specifically and not just hardness in general - you could also add tums every once in a while if you don't do that already. I also get a fair amount of variation of color in my bladder snails (I try to grow them in several tanks for my puffers). I also started getting what I thought were "clear" bladder snails, but they actually turned out to be pond snails. The pond snails have cute little elf ears sticking out of their head instead of the thin antennae that bladder snails have.
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