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I’ve been working on a redo of my 75 gallon tank that has a rescued pair of adult Jack Dempseys and the 2 subadult common plecos that came with them (both male, or course 🙄). The original owner thought they were jewel cichlids but they are very clearly Jacks. They were in horrible conditions with mulm piled up so deep the gravel was not visible. As soon as I could I moved them from the 55 G they came with into the 75 G they’re in now. I have the temp on the low end of their optimal to inhibit breeding. I tried to do plants with them, raised on some shelves that held substrate, but no matter how deep I buried them or whether I piled rocks up around them, the Jacks would rearrange and plants would be floating. Almost 3 weeks ago @Steve A posted about nitrates and emerse grown plants and @dasaltemelosguy posted a picture of his tank that I loved and thought I could make work in my Jack tank. He had cichlids in the some lucky bamboo and rocks around the bases of the bamboo to hold them in place. Thus started my redo plans. Since the tank was just a bunch of yucky, semi-algae coated, plastic plants, it couldn’t possibly be worse no matter what I came up with. It had the scattered gravel substrate that was *supposed* to stay in the shelves for the live plants but Jacks and plecos had shoveled it out and thrown it around. First step was ordering the extra tall lucky bamboo and shower caddies to brace the tops of the plants. Rocks to put in the pots on top of the planting media. I already had some rounded river rocks from large to small. The dirt was collected from a farm yard in Oklahoma (with permission from the owner, of course) and is very red, so I’m hoping it’s high in iron. 😆 I’ve got this in several tanks and they always test negative for iron on the strips. Guess I need to get *another* test kit. Next step was getting rid of the plastic shelves and the old substrate along with a very thorough cleaning (big fish poop a LOT). I cut some starts off my marble pothos to get them started on rooting. Then I separated some spathiphyllum plants, rinsed the roots well, and stuck those in water so they could start adjusting. I ordered jungle Vallisneria to go in pots - baked, heavy clay dirt with some Osmocote mixed in, then capped with sand, then topped that with the “pebbles” - 1-2” black polished stones around the plants. I also used a first layer of pebbles that I already had of assorted colors, then used some black over top. The first bunch of Val melted like crazy but seems to be starting to come back already. The second batch of Val looked much better when it arrived and I just trimmed the leaves right off and it seems to be doing much better. I’m glad I’ve got a local source that’s got very good prices on plants! The first shower caddy shattered when we tried to drill holes in it the size of the lucky bamboo stems. So I ordered new ones that specifically said they were made of flexible plastic. Those were easy to drill so they went in the tank today! Everything is potted, including a couple Crinums I bought today (and I already forgot which species, 🤦🏻♀️🤷🏻♀️). I’m pretty sure they’re natans. And some nice tall “mother” swords - 2 pots gave me 5 big plants, 2 small ones, and a bunch of babies on runners that I’m leaving for now because they’re cute! Dallas Aquatic Expo! I have my Spathiphyllum plants and pothos starts tucked into the shower caddies. I had intended to also use egg crate grid over top of the shower caddies and braced on the tank trim, but I don’t think I’ll need to do that. The bamboo feels pretty solidly braced right now. I don’t have any rocks around the pots yet and I’m not sure I will, now. After seeing all the pots in place (except the Val, it’s not grown in enough to give the fish anywhere to hide, so I’ll wait until it’s growing a little more convincingly). I still have some plastic plants in here, but they will come out once the Val is actually, you know, plants instead of melted stumps. I’m crossing my fingers that I have enough rocks bracing the swords and Crinums I bought today. I don’t have any place else to put these since my Val pots are taking up all the space I had available. Once I get Vals in, I’ll make a decision on if I add the river rocks. I bought more big river rocks at the expo today, too! The pots on their sides will likely stay in depending on how *full* things look once I get Vals in place. Here’s the “before” pics.
In a 75 gallon I had 2 jack dempseys, a dominant electric blue and a normal jack, both female. I got the blue with bad popeye that I couldn’t completely cure so it really only has the one eye, which typically allows everything else an easy escape. I guess it got a little too aggressive towards the other jack and The other jack tried to escape into a very tight overflow. I did not notice it for about 24 hours due to heavy plants, the fish was weak with half the tail fin gone and a large gash on its side. Moved her to a 40 breeder grow out tank with about 15 juvi jacks. For the first 5 days Daily I’d do a 50% water change around 8 am and dose myracyn and salt to bring tds to 300 from a stable water source at 125. In the evening I’d do a 35% water change with just adding salt to bring tds back to 300. All water changes were done with water at the same temp as the tank. these are the first photos I took, Cloudy fuzz initially formed on the wounds, it had just started to clear off: here is from the next day the fuzz is a little more clear in this picture: And 2 days after that, 6 days after the initial injury, most of the fuzz is gone, and the tail fin isn’t as ragged, can almost see new fin growing: over the next few days the tail fin is showing some good growth, and the top of the wound on the side is starting to heal. Here are some close ups from last Thursday: and here are some closeups I took yesterday: At this point I’ve stopped dosing the marycyn. Every other day I do a 35% water change, and I keep the tds around 250 using salt.