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About Me

  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've just found out today about fairy shrimp - Streptocephalus siamensis. They seem similar to brine shrimp only freshwater, with highly nutritious nauplii just like BBS. Is there any reason noone seems to talk about them as an option for live food? Brine shrimp and BBS/their eggs are everywhere for use as live foods but I can only find one place to order fairy shrimp eggs from in the UK but I'm not sure why, it seems they would work just the same with the dry eggs lasting for years and years until they are wet etc only with the advantage of them surviving longer in freshwater tanks. What am I missing?
  3. Has anyone started a Blackworm Culture. Getting my first start up shipment from California and been reading up. How ever any tips some the Co-op family?
  4. So I would like to start feeding live food to my fish because I just had some breeding activity today from my golden panchax killies. I want to do brine shrimp but I hear its kind of hard to do. I was thinking maybe something that I could catch or just leave out like a old peanut butter can and maybe I could get some stuff but idk. I'd like to do something really easy but super cheap. Thanks
  5. Just pulled my trash cans back away from the curb. Noticed some maggots in the bottom of one can… I’m looking for a straw poll: would you feed these to your mid-sized / large aquarium fish _occassionally_?
  6. I have had no success keeping daphnia going long term, I have vinegar eels cultured for extended use, I hatch live baby brine regularly the COOP setup Ziss hatch and COOP eggs, and had recently added peanut beetle larvae. Vinegar eels and BBS : fry rearing and adult conditioning Peanut beatle larvae : conditioning adults, occasional superfood What live foods do you use? What live foods do you want to use in the future? When and why do you use them?
  7. I started an infusoria culture 3 days ago with a piece of boiled lettuce and a glass bowl, and placed it on my window shelf to grow infusoria. Day three and its just moderately cloudy and has a thick film on the surface. Am I on the right track or has it stalled? Thank you!
  8. Who feeds live bloodworms and how do you make sure you clean it right?
  9. Is there an alternative to brine shrimp to feed a solitary Angelfish live foods? He's already displayed his propensity to eating smaller tank mates so I want to provide him with live food. Would guppies or another live bearer be suitable? Forgot to clarify, I don't have access to a LFS/LPS or any big box stores so I can't purchase live or frozen foods.
  10. Ok, so I had a large culture of black worms that I was keeping as a sustainable food substitute for my 55 long The worm colony eventually started to decline, I conducted a bunch of research and made a decision to integrate the remaining into my 55 gallon. And, while I knew they would thrive, and help out in many ways, none of my fish seem to be interested in them until I harvest from the substrate and introduce them to the water column. Sometimes my guppies are seen picking at them but not really chomping or hunting. And the worms are all located on one side of the tank opposite filtration about 5 inches in frome the sidewall so there aren't TOO many but more than I wanted to maintain and I don't want to feed them the worms regularly...just for general information purposes pH, kh, ammonia nitrates and nitrites are all in suitable conditions. The inhabitants are; 2 male guppies, 11 Rasbora mix of pork chop and harlequin with (1 being an emerald stowaway I got for free) 4 peppered cory's, 3 Julii cory's, 5 (full grown now) otocinclus, 3 black khuli's, 2 marble hatchets, and 1 whiptail pleco. Nearly all of my bottom dwelling/scavenging cats are not really going after them as I'd hoped. Are there any smaller more aggressive hunting fresh water fish out there that I could add to help with maintaining this, crop, of sorts? Keeping in mind I have 31 little occupant's already? thanks in advance!
  11. I have never fed live brine shrimp to anything ever. I know right.......anyway I know nothing about how to grow them. Read all the enthusiasm on here....yes I want to try that MAYBE but would also like to grow some big enough for my adult guppies as an OCCASIONAL treat....do they grow bigger? ACO thing is to big I don’t need that many. I currently keep Dubai, superworm, mealworm and cricket colonies for my bearded dragon and frog. I do not want another food for another pet that is time consuming and laborious...... can anyone tell me do any of the tiny hatchery ones work? Are they a PITA? Do they really take 2 days to hatch and die in a day? Do they actually grow? I know tons of you on here are like what you have your own fish room and know zilch about brine shrimp....yup that’s me 🙂 help please. Again need only as treat occasionally for pets only not sale guppies I do adoptions only I don’t sell so I’m in no hurry to grow them fast. I admit it it’s for me to be able to watch them chase them ROFL no other reason
  12. I'm trying a live blackworm culture for the first time using a 10 gallon tank with a sponge filter. No stores near me sell the worms so if I mess this up I have to drive 2.5 hours to get to a decent fish store that sells them, which is kinda nice because it's a good store, but I can't go up there all the time. I'm using methods I got from the internet (so they've just got to be true, right? 😄) but I'm wondering if any blackworm enthusiasts have any tips or anything they can share!
  13. I went fishing and found a slow part of the river. The amount of fry snails daphnia scuds and other critters was impressive. It was all feeding off of 8 inches of mulm. Really let's you know that your tank doesn't have to be spotless.
  14. Have you guys ever found a maggot or multiple maggots in your aquarium?? I’ve been finding them almost daily in my guppy fry tank recently and it’s occurred before but not consistently like this. Just curious if this is a natural thing other people experienced before or it’s a me problem and something I gotta fix with my setups. It could also be from our upstairs renter, they have a patio that over hangs our lanai room give us a roof but they’ve left trash out before and I’ve had maggots fall through the floor and end up on my sidewalk but we talked and it pretty sure he wouldn’t do it again.(I really hope) but I don’t have pics totally spaced on taking them but next time which shouldn’t be long they appear I’ll get some pics up. Aloha and thank you. 🤙🏽
  15. Hello! A couple days ago I was doing water changes on my aquarium and when doing a makeover of my 75g's canister filter I saw what looked like mosquito larvae. in the bucket that I had been using for taking out water. I did a little digging and it seemed very uncommon. I was really surprised because I keep all of my aquariums in good condition and with a high water flow rate. Yesterday I noticed a fully mature mosquito on the wall in the room with most of the tanks. I wanted to make sure that this wasn't a coincidence since we do have a small pond with a water feature on the other side of our property. Has anyone else found something similar to the pics below in your aquarium? Oh and excuse the cringe worthy reflection. 😆
  16. Hi folks! Q for you all - how do you get fish fry to start eating non-live foods? I have 26-day old Honey Gouramis that have been eating infusoria, then Sera Micron for their first two and a half weeks, but I’ve slowly started to integrate BBS for the last week or so. I’d like for them to start eating more powdered/pelleted food (like Hikari First Bites and Micro Pellets), but every time I’ve tried to feed them either of the two, the food just ends up sitting at the bottom without them touching it. I’ll leave it for a whole day to see if they’d munch on it but unfortunately, they aren’t interested. That being said, how do you get baby fish to become enticed by “regular” fish food (non-live food)? TIA!
  17. I recently got some snow white corydoras and was told that they were fed a diet of live blackworms and live baby brine shrimp. I don't currently have those two things and was wondering if I could somehow get the corydoras to start eating things like frozen and dry foods. The cories are pretty small, about 0.5-0.75 inches. They are big enough to eat stuff like frozen bloodworms but should I invest in some live foods or is there a way to get them to take frozen and dry foods?
  18. I know some people raise feeder fish, but has anyone tried capturing insects? I found this automatic fly catcher on Amazon that seems kind of promising, although most of my fish are small. Fruit flies might be awesome to harvest. Any thoughts or other methods you use to catch insects to feed? Automatic Fly Catcher
  19. Hi all, Ive been harvesting food from a local duck pond which is full of daphnia and various insect larvae. I'm feeding once a day with them and another feed of pellet and flake. Is there anything I need to look out for? Not sure if I need to treat for parasites on a regular basis?
  20. Hi all, I've got a nerd question I'm struggling to resolve: When we culture nematodes like microworms in a growth medium, do they consume the medium directly for food or the bacteria that develops in it? I think the answer I've encountered more often is that they consume bacteria but that leaves me wondering, how does that affect efforts to enrich the medium or "gut load"? Are we gut loading the nematodes via the bacteria they would consume or do they get those extra nutrients by consuming the media directly? Using the microworm example, I've got this odd personal hypothesis that there might be a cleanliness advantage to using something purely starchy as a growth medium because, with the addition of yeast, I would think the dominant microbial presence would be yeast in the same way that cheeses can safely age for long periods of time above refrigeration temperature because lactobacillus simply outcompetes other bacteria. What are the risks inherent to culturing bacteria in an enriched medium that could include animal matter (from something like powdered fish food) or other non-starches? Any thoughts would be appreciated. This is all in consideration of whether or not I should explore gut loading more. Thanks!
  21. Just an FYI-...I raise flightless fruit flies for my daughter's dart frog. We currently have more than can be eaten by that little guy. I decided to dump some in with my rice fish to see what would happen. The flies are small enough they can kind of walk around on the surface tension of the water. They didn't last long though. Once the fish noticed what was going on they went bonkers gulping them down. Tried some in the guppy tank, same thing, feeding frenzy. I'm not sure if this is a common live food, but they're easy to culture and inexpensive if you're raising them yourself...
  22. Just went to a well hidden local pond that has (no fish as it dries up in the summer) to collect some live food to see if I could culture some daphnia. I managed to get tons of daphnia with a couple scoops with the net, however I’ve also caught a bunch of other stuff like some small black worms, mosquito larvae, and other stuff which I don’t have a clue they are. I wasn’t planning on introducing this freshly caught live food to my fish until like 2 weeks in. Should i be scared of what I introduce? Or do all those critters pretty much have the same effect? I can’t really find valuable info anywhere so if anyone knows a good clear chart of common critters found in ponds in the UK, any previous experiences and any helpful links would be highly appreciated. thank you!!
  23. Finally the 5 gallon buckets behind the garage are starting to fill with mosquito larva, yay! If you watch closely you will also notice Daphnia swimming around in there also (which I didn't add to the buckets). You know how you make your own sour-dough mother culture just by putting flour and water on the porch outside for a few days and wild yeasts waft in and those yeasts get your sour-dough mother culture started. I think it is like that with buckets of water. I think the Daphnia eggs just waft in on the air.
  24. Does anyone know a way to keep a population of black worms thriving so I don’t have to keep buying them at the LFS?
  25. Hi everyone. I'm thinking about starting some live food cultures like daphnia, scuds and copepods but I'm worried about buying a starter group that has parasites or other nasties mixed in. Can anyone recommend reputable sources of "clean" starters? (I checked the forum rules and I don't think this type of post is not permitted but if it is mods and admins feel free to remove it.) Thanks!
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