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Live Breeder 55 Journal


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                     Hey Guys, I’m Aaron from Kansas City, and this is my 55 Gallon tank! I started this tank as a live breeder/community tank. I actually bought the tank and stand used from FB marketplace. It came with hoods and lights but those no longer worked, so I went with the Nicrew lights off of Amazon for now. Down the road, I want to get the Fluval one Aquarium Co Op sells. The tank and stand were both from the early 2000s so I resealed the tank as an extra precaution even though I don’t think it was leaking. It’s definitely built very sturdy though with very thick glass, which I think a lot of older tanks were. 

                    I am a few months in on this hobby and I enjoyed my 20 a lot but it quickly ran out of space for what I wanted to do, so I decided to jump to a 55. It’s large enough that I have some room to breed and keep what I want in the numbers I want. I enjoy live breeders a lot. They are easy to keep, very active, come in some great colors, and I greatly enjoy watching them interact with their environment, especially my voracious mollies, one of which I am 70% certain has taken a liking to pest snails. My largest Molly used to be in my 20 gallon tank, which had a decent sized adolescent pest snail in it. The next day, I came and found the shell of said snail on the substrate entirely empty. 

                   Anyways, I also have a Blue Swordtail Guppy trio for breeding. If I get some good fry, I may sell them to local pet stores. I have a breeder box for isolation but at this stage, I am not too worried about saving fry. I like to use nature to “self regulate” my aquariums as much as possible, which is why I enjoy heavily planted tanks. I personally prefer natural looking tanks without decorations or plastic plants for my own setups. I like to mimic real aquatic environments, within reason. Obviously if this were a real river bed, it wouldn’t have the rocks stacked so nearly, but I think it still looks reasonably natural. The community aspect of this tank will hopefully allow the adult fish to do population control on the fry so I won’t run into the issue of an overstocked tank and I will isolate a few fry for breeding purposes. 

                  Started her out with an organic potting soil base and capped it with play sand. Spent $20 at Lowe’s for a richly nutritious substrate with a natural looking cap material. Added some Fritz Turbostart and let the filter run for a few days. The first inhabitants were actually my three 24K White Cloud Minnows, which came from my friend’s shrimp tank. He was having some water issues and wanted to thin out his inhabitants to reign in the problem. I still need to get a couple more to form a proper school. Added my large Black Molly female next, and went and bought her some friends the next day. I’m up to four females and two males to keep the harassment down (though they tend to favor the largest female). Then, I added my Blue Swordtail Guppies (2 females and one male). I have an Albino Cory cat that I inherited from a new fishkeeper that bought one too many fish for his 10 gallon. His friend died spontaneously so I probably need to go get a few more albinos, but I’m not adding additional fish until I am sure everything is running smoothly, cycle wise. 

                  I’m in the process of growing a guppy grass hideout for fry and shrimp among the rocks. I have one Green Jade Neocardinia that ended up here because I accidentally poured him outside in the grass during a water change when I was trying to catch my molly for transfer (lesson learned on moving driftwood and moss into a bucket carelessly). I frantically picked him up and impulse tossed him into the 55. I’ve seen him one time, so I know he’s still alive. Shrimp are great at hiding. I will be adding some strong, good color Blue Velvet Shrimp I am buying from a local hobbyist this weekend. I’m going to avoid snails for now, since I am pretty sure the 55 is already getting pest snails from the plants and I may decide to introduce an Assassin later (because really I just think they are the coolest thing, I realize you can control pest snails without them and pest snails can even be beneficial as Cory said in various videos, but this is a snail that eats snails, how cool is that?). He’d definitely make a snack out of any Nerite I put in the 55. 

                    I expect the guppies and mollies to breed like rabbits and I expect to see some breeding action from the shrimp once my plant cover grows to the jungle-esque levels I like. I am new at this, but I have read a lot and believe that I can use the tank inhabitants to manage their own populations. I am not concerned if the guppies mass breed, because the mollies should theoretically handle the excess (and handle their own excess) and I will save the few fry I want to play around with. I am not too worried about Shrimp breeding out of control, as the fish will help maintain that balance and shrimp have a much lower bioload and act as tank cleaners, so I don’t think I will ever have to worry about an overpopulation there, but I’m still pretty new at this. 

                    Ignore the disorganized plants, I am still growing them up and getting them to the right size so I can “aquascape” them. The grasses and the hornwort and such will probably be rearranged.  Not sure if I will be changing things often enough to have tons of interesting updates, but I will post some progress as the plants grow and I introduce new things. Can’t wait to see what fish come out of this live breeder experiment. 

I welcome any and all advice. 

(Ignore the brown leaves, I just like to give the plants a couple weeks to root and perk up from the shock of the initial planting/transfer from the store before I trim)








Edited by Tarsas
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Thought it was interesting the way this plant attached itself. I rooted it initially, but I think someone (like a Molly) broke it off, and now it’s just floating, anchored by this one root which it has in the sand. This tank is kind of a “let nature go” tank, rather than an attempt at Aquascaping.  


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  • 3 weeks later...

Oddly enough, the first of the tank dwellers to give birth were the blue Cherry Shrimp. Spotted a baby hiding out under all the rock work. I was worried about not having enough cover but I guess we’re doing fine. 


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