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About Me

Found 16 results

  1. Hi guys my names rw519, I'm new to the forum but an experienced fish keeper none the less. Before you continue reading YES the title is kinda misleading, sort of. It's not a new tank physically but a new idea or concept of fish keeping I'm embracing for this new tank and hopefully all my fish tanks going forward. In this particular tank I'll be talking about my favorite of them all..Tiger Barbs! I know your prolly thinking hey rw519, that's not a new tank I've saw tons of those barbs they're everywhere! To that I say..yes, you are right, i'm sure you have..but, my choice of tank mates just might be. What tank mates are those you might be asking? Well..are you ready for it, Bloody Mary shrimp, Zebra loaches, Malaysian trumpet snails, bladder snails, California blackworms, and a host of all the micro inverts like daphnia, scuds, seed shrimp, cyclops etc..and yes I'll be using common names here because well I'm lazy and like to keep things simple. Anyway, I bet now your thinking haha what an idiot those barbs and loaches are gonna kill everything! To that my friend I say yes, again you are correct they most certainatly will. With that being said I'd like to introduce this new concept I'll be tinkering with for the next little while. Too often we buy pretty fish taken from wild, throw them in a glass box and force them to survive off man made foods like flakes and pellets for as long as they possibly can. What if, instead of going against the grain, we chose to work with nature and the natural food chain to make that tiny glass box atleast not so foreign and a little more habitable? That's the plan! A fully functional multi species ecosystem working together to sustain itself. Instead of being angry my 12 barbs ate my shrimp I say how large of a shrimp colony do i need to i actually sustain itself and my barbs. Instead of congratulating my loaches for eating all those pesky trumpet snails, I think, how many of those snails would my tank require to produce a stable population mature enough to feed my 6 zebra loaches. Instead of hating those little white insects crawling on my aquarium glass I wonder, how can I utilize this population to my benefit? Truth is, this is no new concept my friends, this is the natural order of the aquatic food chain and I believe we should all be incorporating this concept into all of our fish tanks going forward. I would almost go as far as saying its abuse not to. Why should we force our pets to eat man made flakes and pellets when nature has already provided us with all the resources needed. After all, these animals do live and thrive in the wild and I dont see them getting fed flakes and pellets. Realistically, all we need to do is put our thinking caps on, gather those choice species and resources, put them together and if we do a good enough job at it nature should take over. That's the plan for this build and hopefully all other tanks in the future. Being that I'm experimenting with tiger barbs who are small 3" fish who will essentially eat anything and everything this round should be fairly easy. Young barbs eat daphnia old barbs eat shrimp. Young loaches eat scuds and bladder snails, old loaches eat shrimp and trumpet snails. That's the idea behind my tanks going forward, looking at fish like what do these specimens really eat in wild, what predator/prey symbiotic relationships do they form, how can I mimic that relationship in my tank, and what tank size and species numbers do I need to balance this system out? Of coarse plants play a vital role in this ecosystem as well, which of those plants brings me the best bang for my buck, what purpose do they serve, how can I incorporate them in a way that benefits all. To pull something like this off correctly those are the questions one needs to answer. Luckily it's really not that hard if done with patience and careful planning so let's get to it. I'm gonna start with a 75 long. Plenty big enough for 12 barbs and 6 loaches with lots of room to grow. Yes, that is massively under stocked but because I want this tank to sustain itself bigger is better. I'll be using a matten filter and a sponge filter for this build. So substrate, easy enough, black sand. Sure its not the most natural looking but I like it and I'm not trying to recreate nature here simply mimic it. Your substrate is more important than you think, fully functioning it breaks down detritus and excess nutrients, stagnant it creates toxins and pests. Before I lay down the sand I spread a thin layer of dried indian almond leaves and fresh local green leaf across the bottom of the tank. This will act as a food source for the bottom feeding micro inverts and snails. On top of that I spread a layer of crushed coral, gravel and rocks high in minerals. It's something for the plants roots to anchor on to. Sand works alone but not so much. The addition of your favorite beach stones and agates work great. Just be sure to avoid those with copper. I than added a couple scoops of pond muck I collected locally and spread that out on top of the gravel. Yes its wild, yes it contains planeria, yes it contains hydra, yes it contains all types of mold fungus and bacteria. Perfect. I dont need much here, all I'm doing is adding the life forms it harbours to my tank. Mold fungus bugs bacteria everything. I can culture them later. On top of this i add about 1.5" of sand. Great my substrate is good to go. I than picture a rock pile spread across the back 3rd of my tank. It's important the gaps holes and hollows throughout the entire matrix are large enough that adult shrimp can climb in and down through to the center but not open enough for adult loaches to penetrate..haha he said penetrate 🙂 The rock piles gonna be my shrimps safety blanket, home, breeding ground, and feeding ground. Feed them at the pile, it reduces stress and predation and allows the colony to grow much quicker than with open ground or plants swaying to and fro. A reliable food source and secure space helps. Trust me on this one, it works! I'm aiming for a couple hundred here, just to get started. minimum. After I got the rock pile built and secure I than added my hardscape. Spider wood, lava rock and dragon stone. Pretty simple stuff. From there I added a bubble wall on the left side tank wall. Kinda cheesy but oxygenation is essential and I'll take function over aesthetics on this one. I than placed the sponge filter. After I was pleased with the layout visually I decided to add my root feeding plants. In this case crypts I spread throughout the tank. I could tell the tank would still be far to open when mature so I decided to make a Christmas moss wall on the back wall of the aquarium. Perfect! Simple but elegant, pretty but functional. From there I filled the tank got the system running and added the herpes of aquariums. Duck weed. It's going to get in my tank somehow eventually anyway so I might as well add now. Although it's annoying at times its benefits far outweigh the cons when compared to other floating plants imo. Faster growth, shorter root structure, and excellent nutrient uptake. I let this bubble for a few days than I added my pickle jar infusoria culture. By now the wild caught lifeforms in the muck have begun to appear. Daphnia, scuds, seed shrimp and cyclops have begun to hatch, but so have back swimmers water boatmen water spiders and all types of lava. I did remove the dragon fly larva tho. Those things are ruthless and could decimate this young population in a short order of time. Adios! It's time to turn this tank into a 75 gallon green water tank. To do this I feed the inverts spirilina power and active yeast. Instead of sprinkling powder on the top water I take a tip of a teaspoon mix it in a bowl with water and drip this food in with an eye dropper. It spreads throughout the water column better this way. When the water cleares up I'd add a few more drops. This carried on for a week until the population was getting large enough and maturing but no where near culture numbers. I than added 10 adult Malaysian trumpet snails. Its important to get the microfauna built up before the snails simply due to the fact they eat microfauna eggs off the sand and glass and giving them a head start helps speed things along. About 7 days after adding the snails the surface is now covered in duck weed and I'm adding things like cucumber slices, apple cores, and baby spinach to the tank. Its mainly scud food but I'm sure everyone benefits. To prevent the water from fouling I only add small portions at a time every other day and remove uneaten food after an hour. It's easy to monitor the population this way. It's been about 3 weeks now since the infusoria was added and the tanks beginning to look aged. Algae is forming in the tank, the moss wall is filling in, the inverts are booming, and the snails are many but still rather small. It's time to add the shrimp. I purchased 15 medium grade bloody Mary's and drip acclimated them to my water. To do this I put them in a red plastic cup floating in the aquarium. Good idea right, temperature acclimate and drip acclimate at the same time. Pure genius! It took about an hour for the plastic cup to fill up and spill into the tank. Plenty time to acclimatize. I took my food of choice sprinkled it on their rock pile and it wasnt long before they took to their new home. In fact a few darted in there right away without the food. Perfect! This is where things slowed down and kinda became a pain. The micro inverts were becoming overpopulated, the snails were many but still kinda small and my merger 15 shrimp were gonna take awhile to double in population. My patience got the best of me and I went out and bought 10 more from the original source provider. A week or so later my 25 shrimp are closer to 40 now and it's time to add the loaches babies and watch the mayhem begin..And let me tell you the carnage was real. The loaches greatly reduced the scud and snail population over the coarse of a week but none the less the population was still thriving. I pretty much have the fattest brightest colored zebra loach babies I've ever saw. Tiger barbs can get rather territorial and boisterous and stress out new fish if you add them first so its ideal to always add them last if possible. They are aggressive feeders and can out compete other species for food, especially in a live feeding ecosystem that's really tapping into their hunting instincts. They also like to nibble on the duck weed roots and moss. They got added a week after the loaches. It's been about a month now the substate is littered with snail shells, the moss has covered the back wall and all my inverts are going great minus the daphnia. The young barbs love them. Ive had to go down to the local pond to restock on daphnia, they seem to be the preferred diet at this stage. Hopefully by the time the barbs and loaches become adults the shrimp colony is booming but only time will tell. Even now, with the fish at such a young age the shrimp do appear to get picked off, mostly juveniles but they also appear to be adapting to their environment. They prefer coming out of hiding at dawn for an hr or 2, hide in the substrate for most hours of the day and reemerge at sunset throughout most of the night. This is when I gauge numbers and when to restock but so far so good everything is goin great. Only time will tell how well this system balances itself out in the long haul. will my fish end up getting fed expensive food or will I have a balanced ecosystem, I dunno yet but I've added the major players and keys needed for success now I just sit back and watch and tinker with the populations as needed. I'd be lieing if cichlids and live bearers wernt on my mind, perhaps this 2 I might try out 1 day or even better yet one of you reading this. I'm so tired of community tanks randomly thrown together with no real purpose. I prefer mine functional and beneficial. Perhaps a breath of fresh air, something new to the hobby is exactly what we need! Thanks for taking the time to read my experiment and perhaps in a year or so I'll update on how things are going. Till than take care and fish on!
  2. I'm starting a fun experiment today and thought I'd share. I'm setting up six pods of dwarf hairgrass using three common plant substrates either with or without root tabs. All of the pods will share the same column-fertilized water, the same (hopefully even) lighting, and I will be infusing CO2. At intervals I will rotate the outer pods to the inside to try to remove disparate lighting as a variable. My goals are to find out how much DHG benefits from root fertilization, which of these substrates it grows best in, and also how quickly a carpet can fill out when given optimal conditions. I'm excited to see how this goes.
  3. Hi! I just realized that a colony of tiny white little creatures (that look like mites) living in a piece of driftwood in my aquarium. I was wondering if somebody can help me to identify if this should be taken care of. Or, if it is part of the ecosystem. It is a 7 gallon aquarium with a HOB, a few pieces of driftwood, river rocks, and a few aquatic plants like java fern, tiger lotus and anubias. I would provide pictures but at this moment can't. I'll post them if somebody answers. Thanks!
  4. Since my life requires that I sometimes unexpectedly ditch my tanks for a week, I'm trying to have all the components of a stable ecosystem. Please see if you're aware of anything I'm missing: inert gravel substrate (for stability) 2 sponge filters bacteria micro crustaceans snails: 3 small species neocaridina (will start breeding soon) breeding endlers 1 angelfish plants: planted in substrate, epithytes, floating, pothos My thinking is that if I'm suddenly gone, all the animals have some other animal (or detritus) that they can eat. Even if the angel died, every other species would teamwork to "clean it up." Plants would help with water quality. Am I missing a link in the food chain? Or in the "water quality chain?"
  5. I will cut to the chase. How do you deal with all the waste a pleco produces? When I was treating my tank for ich, I actually sort of enjoyed it because the daily water changes meant I could gravel val and clean up the poop for the day. There is lots of poop. Maybe I am putting the blame on the plecos when it's a combination of everyone in the tank (but the poop all looks like it came from the pleco who leaves droppings in all his favorite places to hang out). But goodness gracious me, there is so much poop. My 29 gallon tank with more fish doesn't look this poopy between my weekly water changes. This 75 looks very poopy and I last gravel vaccd on Wednesday. If there a trick to dealing with it? Or am I just going to have to let go and deal with it?
  6. I started up a new 5g tank about three weeks ago (fishless cycle planted tank) and in the last few days have noticed tons of tiny white microorganisms flittering around. I can tell some are cyclops but I can't tell what the rest are. With my excitement comes a few questions: What are the most common types? Is this a good sign? What do they eat? Is there a point at which I should worry about the population?
  7. In the Aquarium Co-Op email I received last night, it included a link to Cory's video that he made last month discussing the invasion of zebra mussels in marimo moss balls. I'd seen it before, but just yesterday, I watched another yootoobles creator advising a scorched earth approach (Bleach your tank, bleach the ball!). It scared the bejeebles out of me and made me feel irresponsible for allowing my recently purchased moss ball to exist. (I'd purchased one in January and was concerned it might have the evil critters in it.) So, I listened to Cory's video again. He advised to not put your tank water in the sewer, which I don't do, anyway, for two reasons. 1. Are my snails possibly unwanted in my state's waterways? 2. My tank water is awesome fertilizer for my plants and gardens. Why would I flush that resource down the drain??? So, I gave a sigh of relief and stopped the self-flagellation for which I excel. Thanks, Cory for this and for all you do for the hobby. It is refreshing in this day and age to see a business exercise good corporate citizenship and I will support your efforts because of it.
  8. I have seen quite a few threads concerning a wide variety of algae, namely black beard algae (bba) and green spot algae (gsa). So i wanted to open up a discussion of algae, what are the positives and negatives of having algae in your tank. Why is bba and gsa so hard to get rid of. What causes and cures it. In my opinion algae is sorta like a bonus critter, akin to pest snails ( who wouldnt want a free, bonus algae eating invertebrate that tagged along for the ride when purchasing an aquarium plant ). Or the lowly yet somewhat disgusting detritus worms squiggling around the bucket from your water change. They are a bonus critter completely harmless to fish and plants that eat detritus, that stuff you spend time sucking up and out of your tank. I see them as a bonus, just like algae, all of these so called pests help complete and maintain your ecosystem in a box. Which is what an aquarium actually is, a small self contained ecosystem. If however you are set to fight the good fight against algae, or curb the growth of a particular strain of algae. The best to pieces of general advice i can give is #1 dont panic. Algae is a natural organism that helps remove nitrates and other organic waste in your ecosystem. It will not directly harm fish or plants, but if left unchecked can indirectly harm plants by covering leaves to the point of not receiving light. Basically do not go so far as to harm your existing ecosystem of fish and plants in an attempt to rid yourself of it. Algae is a part of life in an aquarium. #2 when combating algae be patient. As you apply treatments and make adjustments to your water chemistries it will take time to see results. Dont expect 24 hour miracles. I have fought with a bba explosion before, and it took nearly 2 weeks to see the results from some of the adjustments i made. The stuff grows quickly it seems, but dies very slowly. Give time for treatments to work before you decide it isnt working and move on to more extreme measures that could harm your ecosystem. Those are my thoughts, please add content to this thread to help everyone enjoy this wonderful hobby, instead of fretting the sometimes unavoidable but curable factors involved. Thank you for you time.
  9. Hi all, I am a newbie and still cycling my planted tank , (no more ammonia but nitrite still high ) The thing is that I go some algae in the process... with the algae I started to see other creatures appear (hitchhikers form the plants) I am guessing . I see baby snails and I know that these are good , I also see very skinny and long worms, they almost look like white hair until you notice them crawling and eating the algae . I also see tinny little creatures looking like small bugs or fleas ? I know that some worms are and some creatures are good and some can be very bad I going not find on google a worm that looks like the one I have and I want to make sure nothing bad is going on before adding fish after the cycling . I tried to take a picture but these are very small things we are talking about so it blurry Thank you
  10. Does anyone know of chemicals that will kill all these terrible little detritus worms, cyclops, paramecium, and Vorticella in my aquarium. You can see all of this 'stuff' swimming around in the video I just shot below. The pygmy sunfish fry is eating some of it, but he will never get all it. Ugh, what am I doing wrong? Plus I think I saw a hydra eating a flatworm or leech or something. 😒
  11. A few days ago, I went to a local creek with an empty 2 liter bottle. I took mud from the bottom, and algae covered stick, and the creek water. It is amazing to see the life inside one of these. I see hydra and many tiny organisms flitting about. I even see some kind of worm stirring in the bottom. These jars can last years without you even having to open them. It’s a great chance to look at your local water ecosystem and see the micro but important level. Everyone should go and do this. It takes but five minutes to create an amazing ecosphere from your backyard.
  12. Just out of curiosity do you still eat fish/shrimp/snails after starting to become involved with fish keeping? I for one still really love fish/aquatic animals (as food and friends.) Although seeing something like a whole fish live fish in one of the tanks in the grocery store is slightly off putting now, especially when it looks horribly overstocked... (Although fish are tasty though 🙂 )
  13. Hello all. I'd appreciate some insight: I started this hobby with livebearers early this year (5 Balloon Mollies and 3 Platies...1 Male in each group), in a 20 gallon. As you can probably guess, these 8 "rabbits" forced a tank upgrade twice. I went to a 40 Long, and am now at at 75 gallon. Now the 8 adults are alongside approximately 60+ children. None of them are yet full grown, but a batch is getting close. I feel like the tank walls are closing in. Ultimately I plan to get a 125, but don't have room for anything larger than that. As it is, I let nature take its course. With so many babies around, constant food, and cover...the babies are thriving. (Deep down, I am actually glad for that.) I do have a local fish store that said they'd take any I didn't want, but to be honest, their livebearer tanks don't look so great, and I just don't feel good about bringing the fish to a sub-par environment. - At what point would you say a 75 is too small? How bout at 125? I have been on top of maintenance/water changes, have good filtration, and plan to stay on top of that. My ultimate goal is to just let a tank "be", and not have to worry about if each batch of fry is going to put it over the edge, stocking level-wise. And to be honest, I really like keeping the babies, seeing them grow, and am not too keen on giving them away. Any suggestions, advice, or empathy appreciated. 🙂 Thanks.
  14. Another article for your consideration. I grew up in the Great Lakes region and found this article very interesting. Talks about the food web essentially and how even a tiny invader can really mess things up. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2020/12/invasive-water-fleas-decimating-plankton-in-great-lakes/
  15. Hey aquarium people I have a question about hydra, specifically green hydra. As someone newer to planted aquariums I have come to find my first tank that has a large number of green hydra in it. As with many other things, the internet will tell me that they must be pure evil and to get them out ASAP. But I have learned from Cory’s videos that many of these small creatures in our tanks might not be that bad and could be good for the ecosystem. So what’s your opinion or experience with hydra? At this time they don’t bother me I just want to learn more about them. A little about the tank. 20g guppy breeding tank with lots of fry, snails, and two amano shrimp. Dirt with sand cap, planted and a small amount of wood. Tested weekly with no issues and water changed as needed every week to ten days. I also feed baby brine shrimp multiple times a week which I have come to learn the hydra love to eat too.
  16. Just notice this today. Moving on my fish tank glass ,scrunching up to move across the glass. What is it and how do I get rid of it?
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