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  1. I live in Carrboro, NC and you are 100% correct, the local PetCo in CH is NICE. They clearly have someone on their staff who knows fish because they stock excellent and super interesting stuff. I saw Furcata rainbows in there the other days and was shocked. I've never bought fish from there, but I definitely would. I may know the lfs you are talking about in Cary. If they have a large focus on cichlids and a sizeable selection of saltwater fish and corals, then we are on the same page. I'd recommend trying out their sister store in Raleigh, I was impressed when I went there last and preferred it to the Cary location.
  2. I like red root floaters, but I had a hard time getting them to grow for me. I have opted for salvinia in my 5 gallon and 2 gallon tanks, which has small leaves and relatively short roots (1-2 inches). It gives a cleaner look to a small tank than something like water lettuce with long roots, but it's totally a matter of aesthetic preference.
  3. Anubias, java fern, buce, and mosses are all water column feeders. The plants that Mmiller2001 mentioned are also very good, though they pull from their roots as much as from the water column. Having a good balance between the fast growing rooted plants and the slow-growing epiphytic plants will lead to a very good result.
  4. You can get a nice group of neon green rasboras from Aquahuna for a decent price. I kept 8 in a Fluval Spec V and they seemed to do really well. I really like that fish and would recommend for a setup like this as well, just make sure you have plenty of plants like GuppySnail mentioned. They cohabitate great with cherry shrimp too
  5. Yeah, the substrate that you are using is really good, but has its pros and cons. Aqua soil is basically small pebbles made from nutrient dense clay that plants love to sink their roots into. It is basically solid fertilizer. That aquasoil alone should provide all of the nutrients that your plants will need for about the first 9 months of having the tank set up (so they say, I haven't actually tried it yet), and then after that you will need to supplement with roots tabs and some liquid fertilizer once the aquasoil becomes less rich. After about a year, you can treat it like you would normal gravel, supplementing with root tabs and liquid ferts. So yeah, you are probably just overfertilizing the aquarium and should hold off for a while. more plants and more water changes should both help you get your aquarium in balance, at least until the aquasoil stops releasing so many nutrients into the water column. But also, like Patrick_G said, I wouldn't freak out too much about the elevated nitrates. As long as your fish and plants are looking healthy (and you stay under 100 ppm nitrates), then I would just follow the above steps and wait and see if you can get your water chemistry to stabilize and nitrates to come down slowly with time.
  6. I'm no expert, but a few things to note. First, as your plants are mostly all root feeders, they are going to be pulling nitrates more from the soil and the root tabs than from the nitrates in the water. Given that, I wouldn't expect that your plants will be pulling many of those nitrates from the water column. They will pull some, but not nearly as much as epiphytic plants like anubias that pull directly from the water column. I would probably recommending that you come back on the easy green supplements and see if that brings it down. Also, what is your substrate? If that is aquasoil as opposed to gravel, then it is also going to be releasing fertilizer, including nitrates. If so, I would really lay off of the root tabs and easy green. There are a couple of things that you can do to try and reign in your nitrates. Option 1 is to stop fertilizing for a while and see how your plants react and how your water chemistry changes. Option 2 is to increase the volume of your water changes to try and bring down the nitrates by physically removing them from the water. Option 3 is to get some floating plants like water lettuce, salvinia, or red root floaters, which propagate very quickly and are extremely good at stripping nitrates from the water column (They also look awesome with their roots hanging down). Adding some epiphytic plants like anubias would also help, though they are much less efficient. You definitely aren't overstocked with fish given your nitrites and ammonia, so I don't think that's the problem. If you try the above steps and are still getting high nitrates, then post back here and let us know. You also may want to test your tap water straight out of the sink to verify that it doesn't have high nitrates straight from the tap. If it does, then you either need to bring it down with lots of plants in the tank, or invest in an RO filter. Hope this helps! Beautiful tank by the way 😁
  7. I have one on my water bottle that goes with me everywhere, gets wet, and is generally used and abused. The sticker has held up very well for over four months, hasn't faded, and isn't peeling yet. I'd say it would be very sturdy on a hardhat.
  8. You should take a look on the NANFA (North American Native Fish Association) website. There is a treasure trove of information on there on native fishkeeping, especially on the forum. You will also be able to find links to understand the legality and permits required for taking native fish depending on the state you are collecting in. It seems like a lot of people take care of bluegills and sunfish. I'm thinking of trying to get into pygmy sunfish myself.
  9. @xXInkedPhoenixX TBH I'm not sure that I have the best set up to give advice on the inverts. I did not not anymore shrimp murders from the crayfish, but in hindsight, I'm thinking that the shrimp may already have been near death. I've been trying constantly to keep inverts alive in that tank since July, and I am down to one cherry shrimp and one amano shrimp. The crayfish was actually really fun and relatively harmless, I think they are just opportunistic and if something is sick or exposed, they may take the opportunity to snack on it if it is at ground level. I can't imagine one catching a fish, as they are quite slow and have very tiny pincers. You should be safe getting one, just make sure that there is sufficient mulm and biofilm to keep him fed. I started a different thread about a month ago to tr and diagnose why I can't keep inverts alive in that tank, and the answer I landed on is that I keep it too clean and free of biofilm. I haven't been able to keep an inverts alive in that tank for more than a month (aside from the immortal amano shrimp), and I think it's because they don't have enough to eat and the tank is not sufficiently seasoned. I don't feel I've mastered shrimp and crayfish keeping enough to give trusted advice, though, so take all of this with a grain of salt. You should get one though, they are not too terribly expensive for one and they are really cool critters. No idea if they would eat shrimp eggs or not, but maybe?
  10. @Mmiller2001I have two 25W Eheim Jager heaters that I bought last year, ran for four months, took out and stored through the summer, and now neither of them will turn on when I put them back in the tank and plug them in. Is there a trick for that particular type of heater? Is this normal?
  11. I've got tickets to fly down to the ALA convention next week and I'm super stoked. Looking forward to meeting the other nerms that are going to be around too. This is my first fish convention and I have no idea what to bring. I'm hoping to go on the collecting trip on Friday and maybe pick up something cool at the auction. I've got a 2-hour direct flight back on Monday. I'm already planning on bringing appropriate shoes, sunscreen, etc. and then any breather bags I have lying around. Anyone have a good item checklist for a first-timer like me? I'm planning to bring fish on the plane rather than shipping, if I do purchase anything.
  12. Y'all, thank you so so much for all of this content. @Tihshho you're first message must have taken you half and hour to put together, but I am so appreciative of you going step by step as you did. I'm tempted to print out your response and tape it up in my fish room for reference. I'm guessing the higher level of heat from a heater would also probably encourage more biofilm and algae production, so sounds like a I should get a heater back in my aquariums. I'm moving states in a couple of months, so I think I'll establish a new shrimp tank once I move and really start putting effort into growing it out to be super seasoned. I've been taking an aquascaping approach to my tanks this past year, so emphasis has been on plant growth and aesthetics more than maintaining optimum livestock conditions. It's nice to finally have an answer in my brain for why I haven't been successful with my shrimp as well as a strategy moving forward.
  13. If you have been successful setting up a cherry shrimp breeding operation, I want to hear from you. I have tried in three separate tanks to get a colony of cherry shrimp going, and I just cannot get it to stick. I start with 10 or 11 shrimp, provide a variety of foods (algae wafers, hikari shrimp food, extreme flakes, AC fry food), ensure there is driftwood and live plants, cycle the tanks fully, and yet I see only occasional molting and no breeding whatsoever. The shrimp will be fine for a week or two, and then I start losing one a day or every other day until they are all gone. I have been trying to keep them in shrimp only tanks to avoid fish picking off the theoretical babies. I'm about to give up on shrimp, which is sad, because I'm really into them. What specific setups have people been using that work, and what is the most likely thing I'm doing wrong? My water specs are: PH = 7.2-7.4 Nitrates = 10-20 ppm Nitrites/Ammonia = 0 ppm chlorine = 0 ppm GH = 12 dh (buffered up from default 3-4 dh in tap water with Wonder Shell) KH = 5dh Temp = 72-74F (no heaters in tanks, Water is just the ambient temperature of my house during summer months) copper = 0.029 ppm (per local water report) lead = 0 ppm (per local water report) I was listening to an old Aquarist podcast with Cory yesterday and they talked about STT (seasoned tank time) being important for shrimp. My tanks have been set up anywhere from 3 to 7 months, and I do a good job of keeping algae growth sparse. Are others able to grow out shrimp in clean tanks? should I be doing something differently to encourage biofilm production? I'd love to see pictures of your successful setups so I can perhaps glean some information from that.
  14. I relate to your tea rant so hard @sairving, I'm the exact same way lol.
  15. I'm really interested in this topic as well, and intend to relocate to the same DC area in January. How big of a container would you need to do this with for medaka rice fish, assuming that you use the mulch pile technique? Do you just leave the pond without plants or anything else, just water and fish? I don't plan to attempt this in the middle of winter this year around, but may try next winter.
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