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Carolina Guy

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  1. I would tell my younger self to buy timers for my aquarium lights. This has made things easier for me and has made my fish happier.
  2. The last time I moved, I had a fish, an Australian Rainbow, that I was keeping outside in a tub until I could get a tank set up inside. Autumn had just arrived, and when some cool nights hit, I would fill a plastic 2-liter soft drink bottle with hot water, cap it, and then place it in the tub. That can keep the water temperature from dropping as much, and the fish will usually hover near it for warmth too. On especially cool nights, I would do 2 bottles and repeat the process in the middle of the night. Anyway, I managed to keep that fish alive until I got him moved inside, where he lived for several years afterward. Oh, and if you can cover your tub during the night with something like a sturdy piece of flat cardboard (or something similar), it'll help hold the heat in and keep the temperature from dropping as much too.
  3. I've recently been thinking a lot about black neons too. It's funny how certain species start bouncing around in our psyches. I'm soon going to switch a 20 gallon tank for a 29, and when I do, I think I may add some black neons to go with my group of glowlight tetras. I think that combo would be striking. Your tank looks very nice, by the way.
  4. China Aquarium Fish Market--Crazy The Most Interesting Fish at Aquarium Co-op Any of the Aquarium Co-op Tank Tours (I really like it when you offer some more in-depth discussion of a few selected species.) The Tour of that Fish Store in San Francisco Any of the Interviews with Dean
  5. My LED lights were too bright and too harsh for my taste, and also I was getting more algae growth in one of my tanks than I considered acceptable. So I bought a roll of fiberglass screen (charcoal colored) from a home improvement store (around $11 for a 36'X84' roll, and one can probably get shorter rolls than that). I cut some strips (it cuts easily with scissors) and placed them under the lights. This softened and diffused the light wonderfully. I think it was a big improvement aesthetically. I even doubled it on my Glowlight Tetra tank, the one with too much algae. It could be my imagination, of course, but my fish seem happier--the Glowlight Tetras aren't staying hidden in plants nearly as much as they were--and my low-light plants (crypts and anubias) seem happier too. This worked for me, but I have glass covers on my tanks. I'm not familiar with using eggcrate or polycarbonate panels, so I'm not sure if this would work for you or not. In addition, I have no plants that need a lot of light. (I figure, though, that a hole could probably be cut in the screen directly above any individual plant with higher light requirements.) Like I said, I don't know if this would work for you, but perhaps it's something worth considering.
  6. Thanks for your reply. I'm going to check that out and see whether I think it'll work for me.
  7. I really like the looks of that. I need to do a background for a 29 gal too. Since a 29 gal is 30 inches wide, it obviously takes more than one tile to go across. Is the seam where the 2 tiles meet very noticeable? Your photo looks great, and it doesn't appear to be very noticeable, but I can't really tell from that picture either.
  8. My water conditioner creates considerably more bubbles.
  9. I would say the odds are extremely low, almost zero, that any fry could survive in your community tank. When Corydoras fry first hatch, they are tiny, tiny little things (you can hardly see them), and even neon tetras, as small as they are, would have no trouble scarfing them down. If you want to save any, you should probably consider coming up with a way to separate them. I just removed a plant leaf with a few Corydoras eggs last Sunday and had a few of them hatch in a plastic container (with an air stone) that I'm letting float in a tank.
  10. I once got a 20 gallon long with stand, light, and Aquaclear filter for $50, and I thought I got a bargain then, but wow, you really got a deal. What an incredible find. It looks really nice too. That black stand with the black trim on the tank looks great under that piece of art. Keep us updated.
  11. Many years ago when I was a kid, I found one in my tank. I saw it swimming in the water, undulating like a snake, which freaked me out because it was so unexpected. It had come in on some plants I had just bought, and I was able to catch it and get rid of it fairly easily. It was really no big deal. My understanding is that they are seldom a threat to our fish. And there's absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about. Things live in water. You may only have had the one, but just keep an eye out for a while for any more that might show up.
  12. Just to be clear, that was a 29 gallon, not a 20. And I don't want to give the impression that I'm advocating for people to do things that might be ill-advised. Even though some situations call for adding additional fish, overall I believe that tanks are generally better off understocked than heavily stocked. And do some more research on that red tailed shark and whether it can coexist with the other inhabitants that you have planned. I personally don't have experience with them, but from what I understand, they can be a problem sometimes. The one I was talking about probably wasn't fully grown, and it could have ended up being a terror in the long run. (By the way, they gave that tank and its inhabitants away because they were moving to Hawaii.)
  13. First of all, don't get overwrought by arbitrary rules that some people come up with. Yes, Cory Catfish do well in groups, and yes, they look neat swimming together in those groups, but it's NOT a requirement to have 6 or more. I have 2 very happy Bronze Corydoras in a 20 gallon tank that I've had in there for years (6 or 7 years at least). They are quite happy, and to prove it, they have bred periodically throughout those years. In that same tank, I have 10 Glowlight Tetras and 2 Bolivian Rams. And I assure you, my tank is NOT overcrowded. And I have 3 Corydoras in another 20 gallon tank with a group of Platies and a couple of Swordtails, and those 3 Corydoras--just 3, not 6--are happy as they can be too. The same is true for tetras. Yes, tetras like to be in groups, but they're not necessarily miserable if they're not. I've had lots of groups of tetras in my life, and as they got older, I'd start losing some to age. That's just natural. But the ones that were left did just fine when it got down to 3, then down to just 2, and then finally down to just 1. (Think about it. If we were forced to replace fish to keep schools of 6 or more, we'd never get to change over to another type of fish to keep.) I've never kept Black Skirt Tetras. I've read they can get a little snippy at times, but you've dealt with that by adding a few more, which should help spread out any aggression. I'm not saying they definitely will, but if yours ever get snippy with the fins of your Angels, you might have to deal with that issue at some point. I don't know that much about Rainbow Sharks, but it sounds like you took care of that aggression problem by separating them. That's exactly what most seasoned aquarists would have done. Welcome to the world of fishkeeping. Things like that occur all the time, and you just deal with them, just like you've done. Right after I got out of college way back in 1979, I visited my cousin in Atlanta. He and his girlfriend had a 29 gallon aquarium. That established tank included 2 beautiful full-grown Gold Angelfish, a Black Redtail Shark, a huge female swordtail (I've never seen a larger one, before or since), 2 or 3 platies, and a school of probably 12 to 15 various tetras, including Lemon Tetras and Serpae Tetras. To this day, I don't think I've ever seen a group of fish that were any happier than those in that tank. Not a single one would hide or sulk. All of the Tetras would swim happily out in the open. And those 2 Angels, and the swordtail too, would swim toward me like little puppy dogs whenever I went near the tank, and I'm just barely kidding when I say it looked like those fish were smiling the whole time I was there on that visit. I've been keeping fish since I was in the 5th grade in the 1960s, and believe me, I know happy fish when I see them. If that many fish were that happy in a 29 gallon, I don't think your tank is overcrowded. Of course, there are some rules that are essential for fishkeeping, and there is great advice out there that should be listened to (Cory's expertise is probably the best I've ever run across), but don't get in your mind that things are a disaster if you violate some arbitrary rule, just because somebody else adheres to it. Just relax. Enjoy your fish. When problems occur (and they will), you can deal with them when they happen.
  14. Carolina Anole (Anolis Carolinensis) on one of our outdoor potted geraniums.
  15. Do you have any way to heat water? I've kept fish alive during power outages by putting hot water (that I heated on a kerosene heater) into plastic 2 liter soft drink bottles and putting them into the tank. (Cap the bottles, of course.) I'd replace the hot water periodically (after several hours). The fish would hover by those warm bottles, and I didn't lose a single fish, even for several days during an ice storm. You could use smaller bottles, of course, for small tanks.
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