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About Me

  1. Here is a short video I made about the C.A.R.E forum. It's not all encompassing but is a good guiding principle for this forum.
  2. Recently decided to reenter freshwater aquariums after a long layoff. While I have kept fish often successfully I never really advanced in the hobby. Look forward to talking with you guys.
  3. In this topic we will try to track and record with precision the breeding of the Rhinogobius species! Fotos are very accepted!!
  4. 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?
  5. 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 🤨
  6. I am wondering if the canister filters that are sold on ebay are any good? They seem just like unbranded filters that would be sold for alot more once the final name gets stamped on it. Has Corey ever done a review of these types? For example: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aquarium-Canister-Filter-3-Stage-265-GPH-FREE-MEDIA-Up-to-75-Gal-Fish-Tank/264044944425?_trkparms=ispr%3D1&hash=item3d7a4e1c29:g:sFEAAOSw2ihf~RYO&amdata=enc%3AAQAFAAACcBaobrjLl8XobRIiIML1V4Imu%252Fn%252BzU5L90Z278x5ickkXKoKcbeZcOrOku%252BoOBl%252BSyFiCz%252Bk3x4hHuqW2SxjOWNw4QY%252BFRR6MlchXpvC7LXhJ%252BUWwai5WsXJMcIWm7NTeAr6YuygSxepqF1cWOGroNeFoomcRTXRvQus4RPvCgM9oZD3mz5ugoRJhbnhPYpv4n1uFAf5mY1xl0o0aJUOUrMJbzPSVMKeBpIX1pzALKLZlmtYX%252BaWjTpYdDYlzs5dLnqLTwUl3pmS2SNpxNZWQpolXknu5jrrdcrVq1IDoye2MeAnJV51UhoG0WkoxJp6gzzMFhHcTZ6wbGgKOisYSM95s%252FqU71b2xF3Gs5RuJJ3mdyN%252BGXINiYm4EepsekuJWhITjlqHufYvE8UhaP9vtW3KqnaVDebHtlCaRQ9qXPeX6AB0ayjtgj1EPCcVEEdliBXhUWKxKTtgsr%252BL8ZTYZLmk0lwt1adeDl0IsHZqG1mlbZnCIYId8I5rgOP0Fdz2W9EWv5LBuZO7FRgoWjSd7amSZUI%252B3kyfxDqHEzA0b79aQNwuNm7ZTNQWHpk8Ryc7sTd%252Ft%252FW8VSxDjdQejoxTzMTEiRIo4hLOQ05igH4tlvm2487wF5dbWeb0ro5LOEFcazwsgWWfyLOjJMa8uFP2nn9j0ieIgubgKJEfFf3w5g%252B9a2tTYTBUPZY8F2dz%252FCujv1zwQ1wbtWr2OyB%252B8Ow2t0sm6f96VoF81lThOR9WRQwNZCVQPmTtDE9uKAFoyJLq6dL57hQCPTdh5N4LGW6eQ4kpc0mjBZi1aiiKBugWEIyYsBOG4FW8bEsorFwKFM5VWA%253D%253D%7Ccksum%3A264044944425c3bf2ff4a8404d3185d258c47cb8246d%7Campid%3APL_CLK%7Cclp%3A2334524
  7. Hi there lovely people. Huge Cory/Co-op fan from the UK. I've kept tropical fish for years, and have had lot's of different types and kept them to varying degrees of success. We are currently having our garden completely re-landscaped, and my wonderful wife who doesn't share my love of fish has agreed to us getting a pond. I am incredibly excited but i have a few questions I would like a hand with if possible? Some details first of all. Not sure to the degree of detail i need to go into, but the pond I have purchased is the Laguna preformed 980litre. This measures 6ft X 4ft X 2ft. It will be completely above ground, and will be built into a block and slab built raised bed. Here are my questions; Fish/Stocking - I was planning on getting the fish all at a small size (up to about 3inches each), and stocking with 5 canary yellow goldfish, 5 red goldfish, and 5 sarasa comets. I then wanted to reduce the numbers as they got bigger, only keeping my favorites of them. Does this sound ok as far as stocking when considering filtration below? Filtration - I have a 1500litre per hour pump which is going to be hooked up to a terracotta plant pot which I will have a mix of mechanical and biological media in. This will then come through a bamboo spout and spill out back into the pond. I also have a home made 6 inch square sponge filter which will be run from a solar powered air pump. Plants - I have got a couple of 40cm black plastic plant pots that i want to put in upside down, with holes cut into them so that they can be used as caves, and then use them as shelves for planting on top of. Our garden is east facing, and the part where the pond is gets full sun for a few hours at the end of the day. We are in the UK with temps around the 22 most of summer, going up to 30+ on barmy spells. Does this sound ok, and what plants would you go for? Many thanks for anyone who reads and replies. I'm so incredibly excited! Dom
  8. Hi there friendoritos~! My name is Trinidad and I've recently taken an interest in the freshwater hobby -- I've always wanted to start up a fish tank as an adult and I've finally made a small purchase on a starter five gallon tank this week for aquatic plants and maybe shrimp? Though I think, once I get the hang of caring for an aquarium, I'd love to upgrade into something modestly bigger. I'm extremely grateful that aquarium co-op has an online presence as I've been binging a ton of videos from the channel, as well as those made by some of the employees and customers! And while I'm aware I have a little ways to go in-terms of tank cycling before I can support any aquatic critters, I'm genuinely excited to learn about aquatic plants and aqua scaping as a creative outlet. I welcome any other aquarium noobies to reach out, I'd love to make some hobby friends that are willing to share in their experience. I'm headed over to the shop in Edmonds on Friday, can't wait to see the crew in action and see Murphy in person. ;D!
  9. Hi Folks, My daughter and I started are new to aquariums and recently started a planted tank. Currently the brown diatoms inhabiting our tank and started sticking to the glass. The pictures are a week apart.... I did make a few changes based on the advice of the forum, such as moving the little java fern from the soil to another log and I trimmed and replanted some of the plants in the back. We are hoping to be able to introduce fish soon.
  10. Hello everyone! I joined the forum a few days ago technically but I've been lurking and reading some of the great information on here. My name is Castiel, or Cas, feel free to call me either what is easier, and I'm a 21 year old college student from Vermont. I'm getting back into the hobby after taking a break for a few years and I'm very excited to have a new tank set up and be trying my hands at a planted tank. I'm currently waiting for the water to clear up in my new Fluvel Spec on my desk before planting the first few plants so I thought I'd post an intro and show off the last two tanks I set up before I took a break from the hobby. This first one is a 3.5 gallon Marineland hex that has seen many fish over its time as it was originally my parents tank, but its last inhabitent was a yellow veil tail Betta named Hugo. The second, and last one, I set up was a 5 gallon bow front that was home to Tilli the Betta. This tank I actually did my best to scape going into it but I was never successful in getting much to grow besides Java Moss which eventually filled in quite a bit of the tank but I don't think I have any pictures of it. The Spec is going to be the first tank I'm going into with a planned scape and more knowledge of appropriate plants and how to keep them alive and I'm excited for the challenge. I'm unsure if I'm going to be stocking anything but we'll see what happens.
  11. 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.
  12. Hey y'all, just made an account primarily so I can keep up on when the Co-op brings in new fish and products. I'm a member of the Greater Seattle Aquarium Society. I got started with aquariums in 2018 and have been mildly obsessed ever since. I love my fish and shrimp, but since I just keep pretty basic ones like bettas, apistos, tetras, etc. I find that most people care less about those than my horticultural exploits. My primary tank is a 22 gallon long, and I've lately been doing a lot of Dutch-style aquascaping. If you want to keep up with what I'm working on, I have a journal at the Planted Tank forum. Gonna do a pic dump here just because.
  13. I'm writing this introduction post mostly to see how well my area is represented on this forum. So I'm from North West Arkansas, but the Ozarks sprawls across southern Missouri, eastern Oklahoma, and Just a tiny bit of Kansas. Geography lesson aside, I have been in the hobby for around three years and like to keep Neocaridina shrimp and "easy" fish. I currently have 3 active tanks: a 12g long, a 20g long, and a 5g portrait as well several various vases and bowls with plants. I have some pygmy corys, bristlenose plecos, and rice fish. Anyway I'm glad to be a part of this community and was curious if anyone might actually be from my community or close by.
  14. Hello from sydney Australia, Dean, Alias: Runedune Avid Fish keeper. 3rd generation fish hobbyists- its in the DNA now. I have been keeping my own fish for the last 30 years now. Parents, Grandparents kept Fish prety much all their life as well. Still have my grandfathers aliminium rimmed glass aquarium back at the family home overseas. I just came across this Forum online after watching youtube videos of cory online. How Good is this company. About 5 tanks at this current house. will do pictures soon. when i was 21 - I moved to Australia in 2008 from India, where i grew up collecting fish from the ditches after the wet season. I wish we had camera phones back then to document the places we treked just to catch fish- the lengths we went thru to collect some cool fish. just to name a few fish we collected- snakeheads, halfbeaks, sissor tails, endler guppies, gouramis, tilapia, puffers. all freshwater ofcourse. I am soon to be building a fish room in my garden shed to house about 24 tanks with dividers - the shed is about 2.5mts by 3.5mts and 2.5mts high. I dont know what it is in feet. will document it in detail here in a fish room build thread. im an electrician by trade and will be doing all the work on the fishroom by myself and will try to do some timelapses with the gopro. good to be part of this online community. We really needed a good online forum. Thanks Cory.. Cheers Dean deanosfishyfriends on instagram
  15. I am a lady who lives in Sonoma county, California. I just recently got into this fish keeping hobby and so far it has been stressful. Right now I have a Monkey faced flowerhorn named Lil Spooky whom I adore; such a friendly and fast growing fish! As soon as I figure out how to upload a picture I will share it with yawl. Glad to be here...
  16. Hi everyone, I’m new to the hobby. I haven’t even set up my first tank yet. I’m excited to be in a good community.
  17. Hello everybody, first post. Got back into the hobby after ...... well ...... most of a lifetime. Yep, anybody else remember when those shiny metal frame tanks that would start the dreaded "drip...drip?" The hobby has come a long way since we used to make light fixtures from a chunk of roofing gutter and a couple of bulb sockets from the hardware store. It's good to be back, a lot has changed in the hobby but some things haven't changed like thermometers so I'm going to head over to "General Discussion" and post a question there. Thanks Y'all!
  18. Hello All, First post here. I got a never clod air stone a couple months ago and it has been working well. I have noticed a slow change in bubble output, which I am assuming is due to it getting dirty (very hard water where I live). So, my question, how do you clean this thing. Can the felt portion be cleaned, which is where I am assuming it is clogging. Can it be soaked in vinegar and then rinsed throughly? Do I just need to replace the felt parts?
  19. I live in Mexico, after new year my family and I went for an outdoor trail walk ideal activity now a days because of Covid-19. The walk was on a local creek that starts off from a natural underground spring. I didn't expect much since we live in a pretty dry area, most rivers and creeks are dry all year round and when there is creeks they are stationary and have no life other than basic frogs or insects. The creek was thin, shallow and slow moving mostly looked like any other creek I've seen, but Suddenly I spotted it, it almost looked like some algae, but it was a massive floater colony ( if you can call it that) The colors basic green and a hue of red - pink. Upon spotting them I realized this could be a much more special place than I originally thought, along the trail I kept an eye on the creek and that helped me spot movement in the water, there was fish! it was small and it was quick to hide. Before leaving I remembered the floaters and took a sample with my empty plastic water bottle to analyze through observation. Since I got the sample I've been taking pictures and I'm creating a log of photos and video with my camera. From the very first moments of observing it I noticed micro fauna in the water. 10 days have passed and I've noticed Miniature snails and a few fly or mosquito larvae, thus I decided to enclose it every night and whenever I'm not around to look at it, wouldn't want them to morph into mosquitos in my room. The following pictures are from my cellphone, I haven't gone through all the video and pictures in my camera(higher quality) though so I wont post that now. I'm jumping the gun sharing these since I tried really hard to get Cory's attention in today's live stream and was unsuccessful. Since I got them I've done heavy searching for this plant on the internet, and I cant find anything on it. Mind you all I have little to no experience with aquariums but I've been following the YouTube channel for a long time a little under a year and every video I get closer to actually going all out in on the hobby. I'm really interested in aqua scaping maybe its cause I'm an architect and I feel its almost like landscaping duh, lol. But in all reality I'm a noob at this, literally haven't had a fish since I was like 12, I'm 29 now. And because of the sudden discovery that I just couldn't ignore I jumped the gun took the sample and here I am 10 days later, when I really wasn't thinking about investing in a tank etc. until much further, when I know more and am 100% sure this hobby was for me. Luckily when I was a kid I had multiple bettas and I had 3 small spherical aquariums which are perfect for my tests. I used the smallest one I had, and plan on if possible to grow these plants and get enough for all three aquariums and eventually enough for a much larger aquarium in a not so far future. Anyways, I'm sorry for the super long text, I really wanted to fully explain the context of where, when, who and why I'm doing this. And my intent with this is to get help identifying the plant and whether its a good option for an aquarium with fish. And if indeed its an unknown then look for help from local biologist or investigate on how to adequately register and name it to be found online. So far in these 10 days I've seen massive root growth and expansion in the little aquarium which I could post in a follow up post. Enough delay here are the photos. The creek, thin, shallow and steady or still flow. The Floaters in their natural environment!!! Discovery for me at least. 🙂 Floaters close up in my small aquarium. (daytime, direct sunlight) At night with dim lighting the edge lights up almost looking phosphorescent! couldn't really capture what it looks like with my cellphone with that dim light. Upon realizing there was mosquito or fly larvae I enclosed it letting it breath when I'm there to check on it. Roots, most where anchored on to a twig. and the pretty much have only one root per petal, and I saw new root growth soon after setting it in my new container. I did notice root curling in the end, I cant tell if that's just a plant characteristic as in maybe used to anchor on to things as seen in the twig, or if it is the result of a certain deficiency in the water since I took the sample and added about an equal amount of drinking water( water bottle) to have the floaters float off the bottom since the container is much bigger than the small water bottle used to take the sample with. I used drinking water to prevent adding any untested unfiltered tap water which I have no idea of its ph etc ( city water). I hope I did the right thing. If yo are still here reading this, THANK YOU ❤️ I will try to keep up with this thread daily until I get the help I need, Happy New Year to all
  20. CKZ

    Mystery fry

    Hi everyone! We are hoping someone can help us identify these fry which apparently hitchhiked on some plants we purchased. There are three total, and they showed up right after we plunked new plants into an otherwise empty tank. We tried to do some reconnaissance and headed back to the store to see what was in their tanks, but by the time we noticed the fry a few days later their stock had changed a bit. They are tiny, and currently living with baby white clouds, which are rapidly outpacing the growth of these little guys. Ideas??
  21. 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?
  22. Hello all, I'm new to the hobby and it's been amazing, wonderful and sometimes baffling so far. I have a biocube 32 with 2 oto's, 6 dwarf glassfish, 11 nerite snails and 17 aquatic plants, with rocks, pebbles, driftwood and a soil substrate topped with gravel. It's nice to meet all of you, and I have to say Aquarium Co-op's advice has been absolutely instrumental. Your videos on Youtube are pure gold and the info is clear and helpful. I have some questions and issues and wonder if anyone else has gymnochanda ploegi suggestions. Cheers, Daniel
  23. I started fish keeping with my girlfriend a few months ago by getting a 5 gallon for her bedroom. We were hooked into enjoying this hobby right away. I came across co-op while researching different facets of aquarium keeping and am drawn to Cory and the community’s positive energy, combined experience, and passion for the hobby. I enjoy learning about and experimenting with fish keeping, plant care, and aquascaping. I like the idea of using these disciplines synergistically to create an experience. Recently I set up a 37 gallon for my room. I can lie to myself and say I’m not getting MTS because technically this is the first tank that’s owned by me and not my girlfriend. I look forward to spending hundreds of hours dreaming up ways to tweak things.
  24. Hello! My name is Ryan but I've been going been Vanish on forums for ages. As a little kid I was into "Quariums" but we didn't have the money or space for them. A little ten years ago I picked up an entire 55 gallon setup for free from craigslist and maintained it with various native species. I distinctly remember coming home from a weekend trip away and finding one of our crayfish had climbed out of our tank, went through the kitchen and was exploring our bedroom. 🤪 We bought our house in 2013 and it was shortly after that MTS began to set in. In early March 2014, I found a free 150g Tall with a broken bottom that would become a major project and just a month later picked up TWO complete free 55g setups and a free 75g. Uhoh, tanks are all over the garage/house and my wife is beginning to question my sanity. Shortly thereafter, I really started reading about live plants in the aquarium, and thus I decided to give it a go. Many mistakes were made but eventually this took over my passion for several years. Oh yeah, I also carved my own foam background and painted it with drylok. Remember this for later! This was my first day attempt at a 75 gallon planted tank. I had a long way to go. Can you tell I don't quite understand small tanks? 😄 By October, I had things in a much better position. Meanwhile, I had been off and on working on the 150g, which would go in my basement office. I did a plywood epoxy bottom and built a floor to ceiling cabinet for it. 55g sump from our original tank. DIY LED lightbar. There was a huge build log on another site that unfortunately went the way of the dodo as the owner decided to pursue being a social media influencer. I jumped the gun a little bit on getting it going, taking a few shortcuts ( see: overflow, specs of blue paint ) In early 2016, I had my first aquarium disaster. I had built an automated dosing system for my main 75g in our living room and one day the timer stuck on, dumping a liter of metricide/macro mix into the tank. I lost all my fish and a significant amount of my plants. It was one of those points where you throw up your hands and question if you want to keep going. To be continued...
  25. 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!
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