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About Me

  1. The purpose of this journal is to document my adventures in aquarium keeping as my hobby transitions into its next phase where I settle into a more long-term focus on breeding nano-fish and fresh water crustaceans as well as growing plants well. Over the past 30 years, this hobby has been a true joy for me, it has allowed me to learn so much about both myself and the world around me. It is my hope that my documentation of my aquarium-based journey will inspire others to continue to push their hobby to the next level. In light of recent success I have had selling fish and shrimp in my local market, I have decided to extend my 6 10 gal breeding rack into a larger 10 gal rack holding eight aquariums. Utilizing this new structure which I have affectionately named the "Aquarium Wunderkammer", it is my hope to continue breed Danios, Badis, Pygmy Sunfish, White Clouds, Fire Red Shrimp, Blue Dream Shrimp, and Dwarf Crayfish for both fun and a small profit. I think this new project of mine is novel because it utilizes a sliding rail system usually used in cabinet making that I have not seen utilized for an aquarium rack. By placing these aquarium on cabinet sliders, the aquarium can be moved away from the shelf they normally rest on, greatly increasing the amount of available aquarium which can be accessed for maintenance and catching of livestock while maintaining a small footprint. Thus far in my in hobby experience I have not seen a system utilizing cabinets sliders and aquariums, so if you have similar thoughts, you can now see an example of one of these systems in action.
  2. Hi, my name is Sandy. Live near the Windy City... I have been watching Co Op videos for a while , have learned so much from Cory. Found the forum link and finally got around to checking it out. Got back into the hobby a couple of years ago with a whiskey barrel pond on the patio and now keep a 75 gallon on patio, another 75, 20, 20 long, 5 and 3.5. Love planted tanks, Recently started a shrimp and snail only tank. If I could describe an aquarium in a word, it would be mesmerizing. My husband enjoys the benefits of the beauty of the tanks without the work. Our dog loves to watch the fish. Here is my 75 community. Looking forward to being part of the community and seeing your amazing aquariums and pets.
  3. Hi everyone. I'm very frustrated and need some advice. I have a 55 gallon tank. It's been up for 3 months now. My dip stick tells me no chlorine, no nitrates, no nitrites, 6.5 Ph, acidic water, but I still can't seem to get my ammonia levels to zero. I have been doing 50-80% water changes for a week now. The gravel is spotless and I condition the water coming out of the tap. I really want fish! I have some plants that seem okay, but the few times I've put fish in there, they don't last. I'm a fish killer, and I feel so bad about it. What could possibly be so wrong with my tank? I'm really wasting a lot of conditioner in this battle for good parameters. Any help would be very appreciated. Also, love your videos. You are very helpful and mellow. Keep it up. Thanks, Sweet Sharon
  4. Greetings from Puget Sound! Currently maintaining fresh water planted aquariums and making a (slow) transition to saltwater. Looking forward to learning a lot! Cheers!
  5. Hello all! Greetings from Michigan. I'm new to the forum and was wondering if anyone had any advice on how to make my saulosi less skittish. This is my first experience keeping african chiclids. I bought them as juveniles about ten months ago and they were fearless, always begging for food. Then one day, maybe 6 months ago, They started to flee and hid every time I would approach the tank to feed them. I've been racking my brain trying to figure out what changed, but over time I just became used to it. I tried approaching the tank with the room light off, but that didn't make any difference. Tank info: 75 gal. 10 saulosi (5 Male/5 Female) 6 synodonis petricola added shortly after the saulosi. Lace rock, black diamond blasting sand, vallisnaria, anubias barteri. 2x sponge filters. 1x 4ft stingray light. The tank is quite low to the floor, the lower tank on a double rack that I made. Maybe that makes them nervous? I though about maybe adding more fish, more females, more or fewer hiding places. Thoughts? Edit: I thought I should add that its not just when I approach the tank. If I sit on the floor 10ft away, they just dart around near the bottom. in and out of the rocks. I remember awhile back I searched and found one of Cory's old livestreams and he responded to a similar question saying that they are rock dwellers and that is normal behavior (paraphrased from memory). I just posted this after seeing Tazawa Tanks recent video and his saulosi were all in open water. Maybe just takes time? Anyway, mostly just asking out of curiosity, still loving the tank, rescued one fry yesterday so they can't be too upset. Edit2: ammonia 0 ppm nitrite 0ppm nitrate 20ppm gh 11 kh 6 temp 74
  6. I bought amazon puffers about a week ago. They go ick (I assume) almost immediately. Ichx wasn't doing much at all, so I stopped ich x and I did round of API General Cure and API Erythromycin. Now they look worse than ever. I have resumed Ich x but I'm concerned (perhaps overly) that it's something else and perhaps I should be doing something else. Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.
  7. Hey guys, need some advice. I recently bought a 43 gallon tank and have cycled it but have now tested my tap water and looked at a local water report, and my tap water comes out at about 40ppm nitrate, 37.8 according to the report. I have 2 bristlenose pleco, and was planning to add 6 mollies, 6 guppies, and 6 corydoras, possibly glass catfish as well. Now I am uncertain as to what I should do? I dont have the kind of money to buy an RO unit or buy water from a shop each week instead of using tap water. My tank is rather well planted but it seems based on water changes and testing this has not been enough to bring it below 40ppm. Thanks in advanced for any advice.
  8. Hello all, I know that this is a hotly debated topic, so I wanted to weigh in and give my opinions. This is in no way concrete or universal, just MY observations from MY tank. To begin, it is widely thought that there are no community suited dwarf puffers; I have found this to be untrue. I have a 29 gallon tank with 4 Irrubesco puffers (2m,2f), 10 ghost shrimp, 8 Kuhli loaches, 6 pygmy corydoras, and 1 honeycomb catfish. To date, I have lost 2 of the petsmart ghost shrimp to old age (who were then subsequently eaten as a snack). Every other fish is healthy, happy, and thriving. The puffers mind their own business, occasionally chase each other, and watch their tankmates with vague interest. I feed the puffers frozen bloodworms and frozen spirulina brine brine shrimp. The honeycomb catfish gets floating pellets after dark. Everything else gets sinking food. Occasionally, a puffer will eat at the floor with the shrimp. I found Irrubescos to be some of the more peaceful fish i've kept, and being able to keep puffers with species that will help clean up after them works wonders. I highly recommend keeping Irrubescos if you want to try to have a community puffer that is smaller and cheaper than a Congo Spotted and 100x less work than an Amazon. Obviously personalities will very, but I have found that time progresses, all 4 puffers are mellowing out even more, and are able to eat from the same tweezers in a group without fighting. 10/10 Recommend
  9. Hi Eveyone, My betta has been acting very lethargic more than usual and resting in odd curled positions at bottom or sides of tank. I got him a year and 3 months ago- he seemed pretty big when we first got him. Sometimes it looks like he is not breathing much and then other times look like he is breathing heavy. Water Params are ph 7.6, ammo 0, nitrite 0, nitrate ~ 5ppm. Water temp is steady 79. I think kh and gh are about 4 - I should retest. At first I thought maybe he was getting old or was constipated- so I have barely been feeding him Hykari freeze dried daphnia. He does come out for feeding time- but doesn’t eat as much as normal. At times it seems he cannot always see. To me his eyes look a little cloudy and stick out. He is all black so it’s hard for me to tell. Anyway- I posted pictures maybe you could help me confirm about the Popeye. Also I noticed a light area showing up a couple months now near his one Gills too. See my pics. Any help would be appreciated. I am all set to try maracyn round 1 treatment on him. I don’t like to hastily medicate though. thanks in advance
  10. I have a male black molly with pretty severe pop eye that only seems to be getting worse. I'm not sure what to try next. I have a 40gallon breeder planted tank with an AIO kit. Substrate is eco-complete. I have co2 injection. There is a large piece of Mopani wood and a few granite rocks for decoration. It's pretty full of plants right now. It is populated by ramshorn snails, some pond snails, and 4 black mollies that I got at the LFS a month ago, 2 males, 2 females. The patient in question is one of the males. Until recently he has been relatively aggressive, particularly around meal time. A little over 2 weeks ago his left eye started to swell. Because of his aggression, that it was only one eye, and none of the other fish showed any symptoms, I assumed it was an injury and decided to just keep an eye on it. About a week ago the right eye started to swell. At that point I pulled him and put him in a 5 gallon hospital tank for treatment. I dosed maracyn and aquarium salt. Since he is a molly and can naturally handle salty water, I started at a level 2 treatment of 1tbsp/gal. It was introduced with a slow drip over a course of hours. I stopped feeding him for 5 days. Within a couple of days he started to get really lethargic. 2 days ago he started resting at the surface towards the filter wall. His left eye began to grow white at the bottom. He's still breathing and his gills are still moving, but he had stopped responding to my movement. After some experimentation, I am reasonably certain he is now completely blind. Yesterday was the end of his 5th day, so I decided to feed him and do a water change. He couldn't find the food. I ended up putting a LOT of food floating on the surface so he could bump into it. When he did he'd try to get it with his mouth but mostly couldn't manage to find what he felt. He ate maybe 4 bites before I scooped out the excess and performed the change. After the water change, which includes salt, I added some ich-x since the maracyn didn't seem to help and in case the white spot is fungal. As of now he's back to sitting against the wall and the surface barely moving. And I'm not feeling confident about what the next move is. It may be worth noting that the other three mollies appear healthy and happy. Parameters: pH: between 7 and 7.5 Nitrates: <5 Hardness: ~14dGH (I have had some trouble keeping this steady) Nitrite: 0 Ammonia: 0 KH/Buffer: ~6 Water Temperature: 78F I do struggle a bit with the GH. I use RODI water and supplement with Equilibrium. The display tank gets co2 injection. In general though my dGH stays within a few degrees of target. I do a 50% WC weekly, and top off with filtered water. This photo was taken an hour ago. The right eye is about the same size, but not yet showing any white. I hate losing animals in my care, even when they have been jerks. Any advice on where I go from here is appreciated. If he gets to a point of no return, I'd rather euthanize than force him to suffer.
  11. Hello I’m putting tank together for my son that’s the glow fish, And me that’s the plants. I only runs glowing blue lights at night and super bright led grow lights 7 hours Duing day idk Petco lady told me don’t run to much. I ordered hardyest plants, I think Amazon sword, Java, micro sword, Java moss and Amazon. I used 5 bags eco substrate black maybe to much idk. My son got tetra glow fish and question I have had anyone mixed These with shrimp? He wants blue shrimp I’m thinking I can grow dense Java moss across bottom this will keep a population alive? I have tidal hang on filter 110 and aquarium coop sponge filter should be good there? Also I want snails my boy loves bugs so mystery snails I think breed easiest? I think wait till plants established or algae starts to bloom before I order shrimp and snails? aquariums only 1 week old at this point 4-17-21 and advise be great thx.
  12. Greetings. It was suggested to me to bring my question here. I've been reading and researching for over a year and haven't come up with any solutions. I am the caretaker of two beautiful male Bettas. To preface my question, I got the two Bettas on February 14th of 2020. When I saw them, I knew I HAD to have them, so they were given 5.5 gallon uncycled tanks, and I assumed I would be able to do a fish-in cycle. After all, it's only one little fish, right? A year and two months later, I have had no luck. Don 't worry.....they are healthy and happy. I however am not. Six weeks ago, I started a new 5.5 gallon tank with the intent to do a fishless cycle and give them a temporary home (one at a time) until I could cycle their tanks properly. In the new tank, I have two sponge filters with air stone modification and gravel substrate. It's been kept at a pH of 7.4, a temperature of 79 degrees F, ammonia at 2.0 ppm using Fritz Fishless Fuel and a healthy dose of Fritz Zyme 7. It's my understanding, these should be ideal conditions for a cycle to develop. But, there is still no hint of cycling activity. I am frustrated beyond belief. I use tap water, which has a pH of 8.4, a GH of at least 180, a KH between 40-60. I use API pH Down to bring the pH down to near neutral. I use API Betta Water Conditioner for dechlorination. I've even used chlorine test strips to verify that it is working. It shows there is chorine present, but there is near zero "free" chlorine. I am at a complete loss as to understand what could be preventing a cycle. Oh....I use an API Master Test kit. One thing I need to mention....At the time I started the new tank, my mother had an "air scrubber" installed in our HVAC system. Besides UV, it claims to create "sanitizing ions" and hydro peroxides. You can smell them when you enter the house from outside. The odor is not nearly as strong in the basement where my aquariums are, but I am concerned it might be having an adverse effect. Does anyone else use one of these air scrubbers?
  13. So last year during quarantine I decided to scratch the itch I've had for feeding live food to my fish, I bought everything I needed but work and life got stressful (2020 am I right?) and I didn't start things how I intended. I ended up with a pair of Apistogramma Cacautoides that decided their quarantine tank was good enough to breed in even with out caves or real hiding spots. I just filled it with plants. I decided since I've never raised fry before to give it a try. It was also my first time having Apistos so I was kinda hedging my bets that If mess up with the parents maybe some of the babies will make it. That ended up being a very good decision but I digress. Since I suddenly had fry I needed to be able to feed them. Luckily I already had the brine shrimp. I never did get around to getting the large Ziss hatchery that I wanted as it was sold out at the time and i also wasn't sure that was something I needed for a single tank just to occasionally provide live food to my fish. In the end I was more than tired of constantly having to hatch brine to feed the babies. I ended up looking up other alternatives and my research eventually lead me to daphnia. In fact when I learned that daphnia can be raised in the same water parameters as my aquarium and will last in the tank until eaten I was sold. On top of that they continuously breed so they do all the work for you. (assuming you don't suffer major crashes) they have a fairly good nutritional value as well. (not quite as high as newly hatched brine). And from the information i was able to find online, newly hatched daphnia are smaller than newly hatch baby brine shrimp. Making them just as suitable if not more-so as food for small fry. My only frustration was the brief learning curve and my initial two crashes. I'm now on my third attempt which seems to be off and running. And I've started feeding them to my community tank as well as using them to help the last of the apisto babies finish growing out before I move them to the community tank like their siblings. Shorter summary: For my particular use case, supplemental live food for a single tank and/or use in a quarantine/hospital/fry tank. Culturing daphnia seems to be easier than constantly restarting with my brine shrimp dish. ( i know it would possibly be easier with more common methods) Not that brine shrimp is difficult at all but assuming I can keep a culture going then there is no more work to do than on my main tank. Occasional water change/occasional siphoning of the daphnia and snail mulm. I'm curious to hear from others that have tried both live foods. Have you had success with culturing Daphnia? Do you prefer the ease and reliability of hatching bbs over the uncertain but continuous culturing of daphnia?
  14. New setup, Fluval Flex 15. Substrate is 2-3” of Seachem Flourite Dark. I’ve got some dragon stone and 2 pieces of Mopani Driftwood. The wood was boiled multiple times and soaked and the substrate cleaned thoroughly before going into the tank. No issues with cloudy water. I planted the following when I setup the tank. 1 pot of Anubias Nana (AN). 1 pot of Anubias Nana Petite (ANP). 2 pot of Cryptocoryne Lucens (CL). 2 pot of Bacopa Caroliniana (BC). 1 pot of Pogostemon Stellatus Octopus (PSO). All the plants looked strong and healthy when they arrived. I’m almost 4 ½ weeks in the Anubias’s and CL look like they’re doing ok. I broke up the BC & PSO during planting to spread the plants around a bit and all but one of the BC’s are dead. 3 of the 5 PSO’s are dead and the remaining two are not looking great. After two weeks I added 8 Cardinal Tetra’s, 7 have made it. The one that died kicked it within the first 2 hours of being introduced into the tank. Frankly I was surprised made it from my local fish store, I took their last 8 but they only charged me for 7 cause this guy looked terrible. Since introducing the fish Ammonia is stable at .25ppm. NO2 was also at .25ppm but just dropped to zero yesterday. Still no NO3 yet. Weekly water changes. Feeding fish only once a day. pH is 7.4. GH is 4. KH is 5. I used Seachem Flourish Tabs when setting up the tank for my stem feeders and Seachem Flourish & Flourish Iron for the leaf feeders. For the first 3 weeks I used the minimum dosage for the Flourish because I didn’t consider what I put in a lot of plants and I didn’t want to fight algae. Now I’m wondering if it wasn’t enough nutrients since my BC & PSO are looking like they might be a total loss. A week and a half ago I slightly increased the Flourish dosage. Still no issues with algae. So I’m ordering more LC & PSO (2 pots each) because I love them in my tank. I’m also ordering a Java Fern to try out because I’ve had great luck so far with the water feeders. Any tips on keeping the PSO’s from dying on me? This time I’m getting two pots and will drop them in as bunches, hoping that will do the trick. I’ll also add more Flourish tab’s in the area for these guys. Appreciate any tips or suggestions.
  15. I want to start a theme tank of see through fish. I know I want glass catfish, what other cool transparent/ semi transparent fish should I put in? It will be in either my 20 or 32 gallon tank. Haven’t decided yet.
  16. Actually, I said it. While I have been looking (shyly?) at the aquarium stuff for a long time, I just recently committed. Never had a tank before. So yeah, trying this forum for advice, admiration and laughs 🤨
  17. Howdy, Pretty new to the hobby, please be gentle. I have a Betta that we got from the pet store about 3-4 months ago. He would generally sit on the suction cup holding up the heater when nobody's around, but as soon as you went anywhere near the tank he would follow you around. Would play with you with a ping pong ball. About a week and a half ago I picked up 3 neon tetra to give him some company (only a 5 gallon tank so I didn't want to add too much), and the guy at the store sold me some wisteria that had already been growing in water. Waited a few days to see if they were doing fine in the small 3 gallon quarantine tank I had and then moved them in. Everything seemed fine until yesterday. I noticed part of one of his fins almost looked like it folded/rolled into a straight line. The tetras seem unaffected. Did about a 40-50% water change and gave it the night. Today that fin and another are exhibiting the same symptoms and much worse than the day before. He's spending almost all of his time laying on the bottom and is hiding in his cave a lot, which generally he would never do. He's coming up to the top occasionally but his swimming does appear labored. We were using API test strips previously but ran out, went out and picked up an API master test kit today and checked the water we pulled out yesterday and the water that's in there currently. Both are pretty close: Yesterday (using the master test kit) 7.6 ph .25 ppm Ammonia 0 ppm Nitrite 5-10 ppm Nitrate (although it looked much higher on the test strip yesterday) Today 7.6 ph 0 Ammonia 0 Nitrite 20-30 ppm Nitrate (strange that today's is showing more nitrate than when I tested last night's water. It had been about a week since our last 25% water change). The master kit doesn't appear to test alkalinity, but the last time we tested with one of the strips it was about 80 KH ppm. I'm setting up the quarantine tank again after giving it a good rinse. Using all fresh water with some Microbe-lift XTreme to condition the water. We're on a well, no chlorine has ever shown up on one of our test strips. I'm not really sure what else to do. I have a small heater I'm going to put in that tank as well to keep it warm. I'm in Canada, so access to fish meds is limited. This is actually my 2nd Betta. I had one about a year ago that passed as well after a few months. I was given melafix and primafix, also bettafix. I didn't use the betafix with the other two. I have not used anything on him yet as I think it was how I used them last time that may have made my previous betta worse. I also have aquarium salt, but am not really sure how to properly treat him with that either. I remember when I was trying to figure it out last time I was reading conflicting information and ended up not using it because I didn't feel comfortable without knowing what I was doing. Was pretty bummed after spending so much effort trying to save the last one, I didn't look at fish for about a year. Watching the poor thing suffer just killed me. Thinking I probably shouldn't have bothered trying again. I can't seem to keep them healthy. Any help with saving this poor soul would be appreciated.
  18. Two months ago I introduced two tetras into my 50 gallon. They are both are smaller than the mature full grown tetras. One eats well, but the other appears to be really bad at foraging for food. He hesitates at going to the top and often misses the food that floats by his face. I try feeding him crushed up flakes and bug bites to help him with feeding. Should I be worried that he isn't as aggressive as the other fish in the tank during feeding or will he grow out of this?
  19. I put together and started my aquarium on the 27th of March. I added Fritz complete, plus the fritz zyme 7 for starting the good bacteria. my My water reading GH 240 - No3 0. No2 0- CL2 0. KH 40 to 80 now is 120. PH 7.2. So now I have real cloudy water is that normal, I started worrying, is it part of the cycle? Or do I need to add fish please help 🤯
  20. So I planted a bunch of plants over the last week and finally finished the last few this morning. I am using aquarium Co-Op root tabs, and there were 2 that didn't stay down enough and floated up so they were peeking out of the surface. I (stupidly) tried to push them back down causing them to explode everywhere and now the cories are eating the gel cap material?! It's so slippery and finicky I'm having trouble getting it out and the cories are literally tearing up plants to get to it. Are they going to end up getting sick? Should I do a water change or let the plants in the water column absorb the extra nutrients?? Sos pics of full tank to show. Only 2 tabs had this issue and both are on the left side
  21. Soooo what's the deal with using river water/rocks, driftwood, debris, silt, media for cycling??...I live on a nice river here in northern California.. Full of trout and a type of bluegill, also two fatty salmon runs a year and huge steelies! The water is good and clean. Been drinking it 30years..I waz at the river, fishing and waiting on my new 20gallon to cycle (done the normal way)and got to thinking...anyway I'm new so any info would be great stay healthy. Cw
  22. Hello, I just planted my first aquarium last Thursday. I bought a water sprite, micro sword, monte carlo, and scarlet temple from the Co-op. I know the majority of them will melt away and come back, however, I can't really find much in terms of a rough timeframe that it usually takes for the plants to melt away. In super general terms how long should it take for my plants to melt away? Also does it mean anything special that the scarlet temple is throwing out roots from nodes above the substrate? Thank you, Brad
  23. My rams laid eggs last night. I pulled them and they are now in a little specimen container with some methylene blue and an air stone. They are hanging inside the aquarium so they stay the same temp as where they were laid. They usually eat the eggs so this is the first spawn I have pulled. I don’t know what I am doing. Thank you!
  24. I recently bought a heater with a digital readout, and I rearranged the plants in my tank, and now it says I have low flow. I have a 40-gallon breeder with a large Aquarium Co-op sponge filter on each end. I also have a nano tank circulation pump aimed right at the heater housing. I have tried a more powerful circulation pump in the past, but it seemed like my fish were struggling to adjust to the flow on even the lowest setting. So I guess my question is really, how much flow do you need in a planted tank? Should the leaves be moving slightly all the time?
  25. So I have caught my gourami’s in the act several times, however I have seen zero eggs. They are under the bubble nest they do all the climax ending movements, but nothing. Then mister gourami looks around and gets pissed. she has the marble swallowing appearance that indicates she has eggs. any thoughts ?
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