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About Me

  1. Edit 9/30/21: I decided to turn this into a general journal. Will hopefully give an update on the 55 SAP tank as well as introduce my other tanks and projects! A fellow forum member very kindly suggested that I could start a journal about this tank and my efforts to address constant glass surfing by my juvenile South American Puffers. Here is the other post/thread, if anyone is interested: (I admit, the title is a bit melodramatic). Basically, they glass surf constantly and - without getting into any conflict about the ethics or morals about what that means or whether we should keep wild-caught animals in captivity - I personally just do not find it enjoyable to watch animals do this. So I was considering giving them up, but decided to take the other good advice I received on that thread (really I am so grateful to this community) and will try to adjust the environment to see if I can reduce this behavior. Attached is a picture of the tank as it currently stands. It is a 55 gallon with half sand, half gravel substrate; planted with jungle val, java fern, java moss,subwassertang, and frogbit across the top; pH is a bit high (8, sometimes up to 8.4); nitrates are always pretty low in the tank (5-10 ppm at most). I change out 15 gallons about once a week - mostly trying to clean up the substrate. There are 6 south american puffers - at first I intended to only keep 3, but there was one in particular that was much more stressed than the others and avoiding food, and I know they prefer to be in groups so I got 3 more. The biggest group I felt I could manage in a tank this size. They are still young (about 1"-1.5"). I got them in Dec-Jan. They get 1 cube frozen blood worms once a day (I do occaisionally skip a few days when I see a lot of planaria in the tank), and 10-30 snails that I toss in throughout the day. I tend to drop the snails into the plants, so that the puffers have to find them. I tried live blackworms early on, but had a parasite scare (happy to elaborate later if anyone asks), so I've been gun shy on using those since even though the puffers loved them. I thought the blackworms were from California Black Worms, though I bought them through a local fish store (I live in Northern California), so I'll have to look into a direct source since I hear that company is a trusted brand. Here are some links to videos of the behavior I'm seeing: https://photos.app.goo.gl/u9p2Mno1Dhmp88Vk9 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fxbzbvVGKcgPPkCoRJWi7ESHf7WQF6JI/view?usp=sharing
  2. I think it would be fun to start 3 similar aquariums at the same time, but try 3 different strategies for the substrate and fertilizer. First a Walstad type dirted substrate - in this case dirt from my yard Second, CaribSea's Eco-Complete And third, a 'normal' tank with CaribSea's Peace Rive substrate supplemented with Aquarium Co-Op's Easy Root Tabs and Easy Green liquid fertilizer. For this experiment (okay, this is definitely not an experiment as I do not have a hypothesis, any controls, or replicants) I will use three 40 gallon breeder aquariums that will likely have sponge filters, heaters, and Finnex lights. It should take me about a week or two to gather all the resources for this experiment (again, definitely not an experiment as my N on each tank will be 1, but my fun quotient ought to be greater than 1 because this will also be an attempt to setup 3 aquariums that are some more than green water fry tanks or mulm factories).
  3. I have a dirted 29 gallon live bearer tank. The plants are taking over the tank. They grow exponentially. I trim them twice a month. From a half dozen aquarium co-op plants I’ve planted a 55 and 75 gallon tanks. I started out with 3 each of platties, swordtails and guppies. A year later there are close to 40, parents and babies. I want to move some of the babies but the plants are like a jungle. Makes it hard to net them out. So my question is what technique do I use to remove the plants without, making a muddy mess. Or do I trim down the stem plants to a couple inches from the bottom, so I can net out some of the young fish. Also another question, since I have limited aquariums, can I put neo-caradina shrimp in with the fish ? I also have 3 amano shrimp in there. This picture is two weeks after trimming, and they need trimming again.
  4. So I began to set up a dirted tank, but I don’t know if I have enough. In the pictures you can see there’s around an inch and a quarter (there’s some space beneath the black space) of organic seed starter- https://images.app.goo.gl/tD9k5GbNHix5uKM98 I assume it’s different from your standard miracle gro- and about the same amount made up in pool filter sand, pea pebbles (not pea gravel!) and a small bag of Caribsea gravel. I have a unsettling feeling that it won’t be enough though…so should I buy more substrate? I just don’t want it to be too expensive, and I ran out of all my sand and pebbles. Also I’ve heard sand isn’t great since it suffocates the dirt and everything. In the pictures included you can also see all the gravel pictures, measurements, a little diagram I drew and my ammonia (~.50) level after filling and draining my tank (once yesterday- the day I set it up) and again today. So…thoughts? Also I’m kinda nervous because the substrate seems to be mixing and pouring water on the substrate from a certain height seems to somehow bring out a little bit of dirt.
  5. I’ve heard a range of differing opinions on dirted tanks. Some say they’re plant crack, and some say basic rot tabs do the exact same thing with the same results. What are your guys’ thoughts on them? Have you had success? Failure? Longevity? Brands? And would it be good for a beginner who just wants to provide the best for their plants?
  6. Hello everyone! This journal is going to be for my 10 gallon aquarium and 5 gallon aquarium. I will start off by saying I built these aquariums to get my girlfriend interested in the hobby. I think everyone here can agree that the hobby is better when you are able to share it with those that you love. What I ended up doing was showing her different style aquariums online and she chose some that she liked. She also chose the fish and shrimp she liked for these aquariums. I will start with the 10 gallon aquarium. This aquarium was started October 2019. The initial tank setup is as follows: Lighting: 20” Finnex Stingray Filter: Aquaclear Substrate: Organic soil capped with gravel Plants: Vallisneria ordered from Aquarium Co-op & Dwarf Sag Decor: 2 small Seiryu stones, Top Fin Resting Buddha ornament & some river rocks I superglued together As you can see, I started off with very little as I know just how fast these plants can grow from my prior experience. 2.5 Month Old Aquarium At this point I decided to have some fun with carbon dioxide just to see how fast these plants can really grow with a soil substrate. 3 Month Old Aquarium: Carbon dioxide really made the plants grow and be this very beautiful bright green color. 4 Month Old Aquarium 6 Month Old Aquarium At this point I removed the carbon dioxide system as I no longer needed that much plant growth. 8 Month Old Aquarium Yes, the aquarium is 8 months old but still does not have any fish in it. To be fair, these were unprecedented times. 1 Year Old Aquarium Lucky Bamboo has been added as well as a lantern ornament. Lucky bamboo was planted with the roots into the organic soil. 1 Year 2 Months Old Aquarium The original vision of the aquarium is starting to finally take place.... still no fish. 1 Year 3 Months Old Aquarium Yes, you are seeing that correctly, there are now fish in the aquarium 😂 Neon tetras first day in the jungle. Present Day, about 1 Year 6 Months I added some background lights to compliment the scape. Lucky bamboo is starting to grow more full. The aquarium is very stable, I never clean the glass on this aquarium as it hardly grows algae. Every once in awhile I have to remove some val as it sends runners all over the place. So that is the story so far for the 10 gallon, thank you for reading! Now onto the 5 gallon....
  7. Hello. I kinda let things go and will soon be rebuilding my 20 gallon high. It's presently a dirted tank and I plan to use this method again. I plan to move my angelfish and my corydora to a 10 gallon for the rebuild. My plan is to use my existing water, split between the rebuild and the 10 gallon since it has established bacteria. I plan on getting the rebuild done in 6-8 hours. How long should I wait before moving my fish back into the 20 gallon tank?
  8. Howdy Fish Folks, I'm setting up a 75 gallon dirted tank and was toying with the idea of using CO2 since I plan to heavily plant this one. What do you CO2 users out there recommend for gear? Not looking for the DIY route. I don't want/need top of the line, but something decent that is dependable. Thanks in advance!
  9. Hello! I am thinking of adding more soil to my established aquarium but I have heard that if not done right it can cause an ammonia spike and kill the fish. Currently I have an 80 gallon heavily planted aquarium. I have an 8 liter bag of soil but was thinking of adding maybe a third or less... Any tips on how to add nutrient rich soil to an established aquarium? Would adding a little at a time work? Thanks everyone!
  10. This is my dirted 20 gallon long that I literally lost every fish in (ich outbreak). I am rebooting and need any and all advice on what to layer on top here before adding new fish. There was a sulphur/rotten egg smell in the tank that I noticed while emptying. Comments? I was planning on adding more sand (10 pound bag) on top before filling but am wondering if gravel first and then sand might be best. Advice? Can the phenomenal fish gurus here advise?
  11. Hello all, been lurking here a while and greatly enjoying the content. I thought I might contribute back to any other newbies with experiences similar to mine who don't know how big plants will get, etc. I have a 20 long pseudo-walstad I've been working on for a while. It was initially planted a few months ago: Most of the plants were purchased from the Co-op: Vallisneria, Chain sword, Water sprite, Hydrocotyle tripartita, Windelov java fern, a lily bulb, and a few Cryptocoryne wendtii brown and dwarf sagittaria I already had from another tank. Soil layer was about and inch thick with a half-inch of sand per Dr. Walstad's reccommendation in her book. The hardscape is placed on a hill made of filter bags full of Seachem flourite, to keep pressure off the dirt. I didn't originally plan to document this, so unfortunately I didn't take a picture of that stage. I had a very heavy algae and bacteria bloom for the first few weeks but it eventually resolved itself with time and pest snails. I had to remove the coconut, as it created a dead spot and had a heavy amount of bacterial growth inside. Here is a few months later: As you can see, everything is extremely overgrown. I think the lily may have been a poor choice for a tank this size, as the lily pads have to be trimmed almost bi-weekly to keep it from shading out the other plants. And the sword is filling in extremely slowly, making the right corner look a little more empty than I intended. I also added an Aquaclear 30 to the right side, so I suppose this is more of a pseudo-Walstad dirted tank than a true Walstad aquarium, but whatever. Sponge intake cover is also from the co-op. I have a few guppies and approximately 15 or so fry in the tank, all doing well. One more picture from this morning, after I added some pearlweed and Hydrocotyle leucephala courtesy of LRB Aquatics (does he have an account here? would tag him if I knew the handle): Thanks for looking 🙂
  12. Will my Flourite absorb any of the nutrients leeched from my soul. I set up a rubbermaid 50G tub to grow out some Crypts and I thought that a dirted tank would be the easiest to grow the plants and wanted to use Flourite Sand for the added iron. I have ~1"+ of soil with a top of pool filter sand x Flourite black sand 2"+ deep. I thought that some of the nutrients leeching from the soil might get caught in the Flourite (bc of the CEC) but I wanted to know if it is true at all or if it is so minimal that it would not make a difference. Thank you all in advance.
  13. In this "thread" I hope to document (with the help of as many that will) the growth and appearance of cryptocoryne Species submerged as I have not been able to find anywhere where you can see the submerged form of many crypts. So I will start with my Cryptocoryne Albida Costata. It is all green when it is emergent and is turning reddish orange with a cool pattern in my substrate with a good amount of iron. The oldest leaves slowly melt away but the newer leaves slowly can meet to submerged growth. If you wish to post your crypts please give everyone the Species and variant of you can thank you all in advance.
  14. Would it be a bad idea to use osmocoat and roots tabs in a dirted tank with eco complete as a cap? Would the extra fertilizer from the cap have a greater chance for algae production?
  15. I’m about to set up my 2nd tank. The first was a 29 . Half dirt and half pool filter sand. After 3 weeks the tank is beautiful. Now I want to set up a 75, but with dirt and eco complete as the cap. Aquarium gravel is $19 for 20 lbs, eco complete is $22 for 20 lbs. is my logic skewed for using eco complete for a cap?
  16. What's your take on the infamous Walstad method? How did you go about setting yours up? Can I use soley ecocomplete and no soil as a planted tank? Or should/could I cap the soil with ecocomplete? Or should I go the Walstad Method all the way? I want to keep this tank as low tech as possible. I'm thinking a heater and a bubbler in a 5.5 gallon. I also have plants picked out recommended by Diana Walstad ready to order. Do you gave any other advise for me?
  17. I've tried twice now to try and establish a shrimp colony in my 29g hex. The first time I had very low gh and kh and the 10 Blue Dreams I got disappeared within 2 weeks. The were also young juveniles when I got them. I did some research and thought it was the low mineral content that may have caused the problem. I bought wonder shells and ran two of them one after another until both were gone and now run crushed coral in my Hob. My second attempt was with 5 Blue Dreams, that's all my LFS had gotten in that day. They went about a week before I found one dead then a second a few days after. About a month letter one molted, then the other 2 did. The second 2 went into hiding to molt almost 2 weeks ago and I haven't seen either in a week. Any ideas why I'm having such difficulty with shrimp? Tank specs: Dirted (mineralized top soil) and heavily planted 29G Hex, aquaclear 50 w/prefilter sponge and small coop sponge filter Inhabitants: 2 male guppies, 12 neon tetras, 4 corydoras (3 peppered and 1 emerald), 5 ottocinclus and a ton of I think bladder snails Water peramiters: taken with tetra 6in1 strips nitrate 20, nitrite 0, gh 300ish maybe a little under, chlorine 0, kh 40 and pH 7ish(it's between the 2 colors) I do 20% water changes every 2 weeks and dose 1 pump of easy green 3 times a week, 1 pump easy iron a week and 1 cap of excel after water changes. I feed the bug bites for shrimp, omega one super color flake, Hikari mini algae wafers, Hikari fancy guppy, Hikari freeze dried brine shrimp, Hikari bottom feeder wafers, frozen baby brine shrimp and occasionally Sera onip tabs Picture was taken about a week ago.
  18. Hi! Relatively newbie fish nerd here. I've been following Aquarium Coop since maybe four to five months and that just opened a door to Fishtube for me. I use to have small 10 gal tanks as a kid and broke back into the hobby with a tiny betta tank. I had my female betta for 6 months to a year before she passed, long before I found the Coop. I didn't know what I do now and realize the tank was too small and that my tap water is very hard and has 1 ppm ammonia in it so I believe that was a likely cause for her death. I learned a ton from Aquarium Coop and others online and set up a 30 Gal Long guppy tank filled with live plants and now some new babies. It has cherry shrimp, mystery snails, bladder snails, guppies, and amano shrimp. Just gravel substrate, with root tabs, some dragon stone, and driftwood. It has a Fluval 3.0 plant light and just a sponge filter. I've got a 20 Long with a matten filter, lightly planted, and with some ramshorn snail hitchhikers. I plan to make it a shrimp tank when I can get a few more plants in there and some cash for the shrimp. It has a stingray light that works pretty well for such a shallow tank, eco-complete substrate, and gray elephant stone. I also have two twenty gal high dirted tanks that I'm experimenting with. I have soil capped with pool filter sand and some river rocks. Lighting is a cheap $24 shop light and no filter or air. I'm trying the Walstad method here so they are just now going through their long cycle period. I plan to put whiteclouds or maybe celestial pearl danios in these as the whiteclouds can handle lower temps. I'm currently planning a 10 gal betta tank that i'll heavily plant.
  19. Hey guys, I wanted a cheaper method to start my first tank and decided to use dirt. In hindsight I should have done much more research but very late now, I put load of dirt in, (more in the back because I wanted that slope 😕 )Not only is there lots of dirt, but my gravel cap is thin. This tank is about 4 months old, I have fish and shrimp in the tank, and also established plants. I can’t get afford more plants but my nitrates are high even after constant water changes. Any advice ? Thanks xx
  20. Ive got a 20 gallon tank with a fairly large crypt and about 10 or so dwarf sag. I normally gravel vac but i feel like i shouldnt do it to this tank. Should i gravel vac even though my plants are root feeders?
  21. Hello Everyone first time poster here. so 2 weeks back i had the bright idea to make a dirted tank for the purpose of experience, but with horrible impulse control i now have both a crinum and an aponogeton madagascar in it, the last week i started seeing black beard algae on the crinum, should i be worried? i am thinking of adding a cleaner fish but i feel as though the cycle might not be ready yet. i added some shrimplets that's doing well growing up in the tank. i was thinking of adding maybe a single florida flagfish or maybe a single SAE but if they eat all the shrimplets i will probably feel bad. thoughts? Tank Spec: 40 Gallon Temp 29 Degree celcius (84 degree Fahrenheit) PH, 7.7 TDS 210 Nitrate & Nitirie (not checked yet, will do after i buy another testing tube, the last one broke after i dropped it)
  22. Can anyone help me ascertain why this tank suddenly crashed on me? This is a 54 gallon corner aquarium, dirt capped with BDBS that has been set up and running a bit over three years. It is well planted with jungle valisneria, an amazon sword, a dozen or so java fern, a floating mass of hornwort that covers about half the tank that I pull handfuls of out every week during tank maintenence, and ever present duckweed I've never been able to get rid of. I net a fair bit of that out every week too. It has two sponge filters and a hydor canister filter, and an eight inch airstone bar, so I can't see lack of oxygen being an issue. Tanks stock was originally just six cardinal tetras, a clown pleco and some spare male guppies along with ramshorn and malaysian trumpet snails, and a single nerite. For the past year it has been stocked with 17 young angelfish that I have been growing out from dime size - they were about two inches in body height at the time of the crash, and had spawned several times in the tank, although the eggs had been eaten shortly thereafter each time. The angels were being grown out in the smaller tank with the plans to move them up to my 220 gallon once they reached a good size - I had been planning on moving them at the end of August. The angels, as they grew, ate all but one of the guppies, whom they could never quite catch. These were males that hadn't made the cut for best breeding stock anyhow, so I wasn't concerned that the angels had extra protein snacks. However they left the cardinals alone. Two days before last week's water change - I added three anubias which I had purchased online after giving them a hydrogen peroxide dip and then rinsing them. This is the only addition to this tank I have made in a year. I do weekly water changes of 40-50%, and test every week or other week at the time of water changes as well. Tank parameters at last week's water change were Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 5 pH 7.8 Temp 82F TDS 345 and kH 5 (no gH test, haven't got one) These have been the normal parameters this tank has been testing at for well more than a year. Its been very stable with only the TDS ever really shifting. Last week two days after the water change, I noticed a dead cardinal tetra stuck in the hornwort and a spawn of angel eggs laid on one of the valisneria in the morning. I netted out the dead tetra, and tested the water parameters - Ammonia 0 Nitrite 0 Nitrate 0, pH 7.8 Temp 82 TDS 220 kH 5. I did a 20% water change anyhow. The eggs were eaten by that afternoon. Two days ago, I woke up to find three dead angels on the bottom of the tank. What on earth? Pulled the dead angels out and immediately began a 50% water change while testing the parameters. Ammonia .25ppm nitrite 0 nitrate 5 pH 7.8 Temp 82 TDS 300 and kH 5. Still the normal parameters. I'm not surprised by there being some ammonia with three dead angels but why did they die? The other angels and the cardinals were still acting normally, no red gills, no flashing, no sitting on the bottom nor gasping at the top. I left to go to work - I came back and there were four more dead angels and all but one of the tetras was dead. Pulled them out, lost another two angels and the last cardinal before the night's end. I sat and watched, they were going from swimming normally to sitting on the bottom and then stopped breathing within ten minutes. The next morning two more angels were dead. Itested the water parameters again as I did another 50% water change - still the same. In desperation I pulled the remaining angels out and threw two into a 47 column that only had some guppy fry, ottos and shrimp in it, and moved the other four to the 220 gallon - two of them passed away within the hour, I suspect system shock because the temp in that tank was only 78 and the pH in that tank due to large amounts of dirftwood is 6.8. But the other two made it. It has now been a day, and I have two remaining angels in each the 47 and the 220. I am waiting to see if they still suddenly drop dead in these other tanks. The clown pleco and the male guppy are still in the 54, but have not died. What am I missing? Could the anubias have brought something in that kills this quickly? What did I screw up so I don't have this happen again?
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