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Aqua Saga Of Hoi Polloi

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It all started when a relative gave me a 29 gal tank. I never got it going despite buying a few items for it. Eventfully, I returned it and they in turn sold it at a garage sale.
Some time later, another relative, who did not have any time for their aquarium, talked me into getting it. Two times someone tried to give me their aquarium and succeeded on the second try. 
The second tank is an older 46 gallon bow front that came with three fish. A golden gourami, red fin shark  rainbow shark, and a lone bloodfin tetra. 
A crash course ensued on taking care of these swimming thingys. 
To be continued...

Edited by Hoi Polloi
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Now the three fish that came with the aquarium are in the tank. I do want most people would likely do. I go to the local fish store (LFS). Especially, reading that the bloodfins like more of their company.
I explain the situation and the LFS advises to bring in some water for testing. Later, I perform that task and when complete, I ask, "Can I get some fish"? The reply is No. The water needs to be better.  

A major water change is recommended - which is performed.

I go back to the LFS but it closed. I have my water from the aquarium and decide to go to LFS#2. While they test the water I shop around for some decorations. 

LFS#2 advises that my water is not terrible but not great either and they too advise no fish purchases until the water is much better. It is suspected the substrate is holding a lot of fish poop and despite the water changes, it recontaminates the water. 

Each week, I clean the substrate with each water change and I see major improvements in water quality. It is amazing, the three original fish have survived. 

To be continued...

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@Hoi Polloiare you just doing strict water changes, or are you actually siphoning the gravel while you are doing the water changes to speed up the elimination of all the accumulated fish waste? By the way adding aeration and some root feeder plants like Amazon swords, and Cryptocoryne can also help reduce some of that trapped fertilizer material in the gravel but will not replace the need for maintenance in the form of maintaining the filter, water changes, and siphoning gravel. With your dedication to give your fish a good home and some company you should be well on your way.

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On 7/14/2021 at 1:59 PM, Jungle Fan said:

siphoning the gravel while you are doing the water changes to speed up the elimination of all the accumulated fish waste?

Yes, this was the process. Plus, this was a trial by fire too 😉 
Thanks for the info on the plants and encouraging words.

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The saga continues...
As the water quality finally got better each week from a thorough substrate vacuuming and the appropriate water changes I felt comfortable enough to purchase some fish. 
The first fish I purchased were five other bloodfins to keep the lone bloodfin company. 

Taking it slow with the introduction of more fish. 

The process begins of making the aquarium my own.

Note: It's been a few months since the aquarium was given to me and the first few entries are the beginning of the adventure.

To be continued.

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And so it goes....

The original lone bloodfin now has company, who is twice the size of the new tankmates. They are swimming around and doing what fish do, 

The original rainbow shark, hides a lot and comes out from time to time. However, the rainbow shark chases the golden gourami mercilessly. Eventually, I give the rainbow shark to the LFS to give the gourami some peace.

From the original three, I am not down to two. 

 I now start deciding on a natural aquascape and new substrates. 

To be continued....


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A jump in time from the past to present day on the aquarium journey.

After reading about the Panda Garra and temperament, I headed to the LFS and inquired about the Panda Garra. I was thinking it would be difficult to obtain but they actually had one in stock.

Taking a look at the fish, which was an adult, I was a little surprised it was as large as it was. It had been at the store for six months - apparently not a sought after fish.

I ended up bringing it home and the panda garra settled in nicely.

My granddaughter ended up naming the fish "Kirby" after the vacuum cleaner because that is what the fish is like - a big vacuum cleaner of the tank. 

Although I expected the temperament to be a little more laid back then what it actually is. It is not so much aggressive but more of "get out of my way" type behavior. It'll chase the other fish mostly during feeding time, again more like "get out of my space" type chase and it'll quickly give up.

Oddly, the cory's eat near, over and all around it and the panda garra hardly takes notice most of the time. Although, it has attempted to push the cory's aside but the cory's are quick!

Kirby the Panda Garra hides most of the time in the log. 

Overall, an interesting fish.

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Currently in the main tank, I have three Julii Corydoras's. In a previous post somewhere on the forum in another topic, I had mention I had trouble keeping the Cory's alive - through a series of unfortunate circumstances and errors. 

One such error, was in the beginning, as I was trying to get the water parameters under control. The LFS asked me to bring in the water after a week. Which I did and as I waited, the person grabbed the test tubes and stated my water was good. - Zero nitrates!
This was to my amazement, Then I bought four Cory's and promptly put them in the tank. 

I had just bought a water test kit myself and decided to try it out. I tested the water and my nitrates were still very high - red zone high. But, but, the LFS store stated I had zero. I have questions!
I went through the process in my mind and concluded, since the LFS was very busy at the time - the water test results were from someone else's water. Bummer. Needless to say, I lost two of the Cory's within two days. I really dislike losing fish since my goal is to take good care of them.

The other unfortunate circumstances which I will abbreviate, I tried two other times buying the Cory's when I finally had good water parameters, performing two different acclamation techniques with each purchase. In that span of time - one Cory made it.
Fast forward to present day. I went to LFS#2 and asked if they had the same supplier as LFS#1. LFS#2 said no. I was beginning to suspect the quality of the Cory's were below par of LFS#1.

After that answer I decided to give it another try. I bought four of their Cory's. And as of this writing, they are in quarantine, very active and doing well. I keep a very close eye on them. Just a little while longer and they'll be with their classmates.
These fish have quickly become one of my favorites. 

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  • 2 months later...

The Aqua Saga of Hoi Polloi

As a rookie in the aquarium world, I scoured the world wide web for various bits of information. Noting people’s recommendations of various items, their experiences, and general how to’s.

Listed are my experiences on a couple of subjects;

1) Quarantine Fish: Some of the recommendations are 2-6 weeks (4 being the most common), and precautionary medication to no medications unless symptoms develop.

1a) Based on my experiences, the standard procedure will be the recommended Coop-Op med trio.

2) Activated Carbon: This seems to all over the place and I chose what seemed to be the common practice of; no carbon unless removing medication.

2a) My experience: After medicating a tank I used carbon to remove the medications. During this process, the water clarity was noticeable. So, I am now using carbon in my routine.

*As a side note, the carbon is placed in a HOB which is used primarily as mechanical filtration.

3) Heaters: The general consensuses is they all suck. To buy the cheapest and replace yearly. However, the heaters I noticed most in LFS, etc., are Eheims.

3a) So Eheims I went with but the fly in the ointment is - they too are not what they once were.

4) There are only a handful youtubers I consistently listen to now.

4a) Experience: Coop-Op being one of them 😉 

There are a few other subjects but these were the main ones.

Take care and have a wonderful day.


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  • 3 months later...

It's been awhile since the last update, and since the last post, things have indeed changed.

Fish Update

I think I had some sort of (Parasite) which decimated my bloodfins and then started on my harlequin rasboras. Long story short, the last med used was levamisole powder that did the trick and I have not had any sick fish since.

In hindsight, I think this (Parasite) is what killed one previous bloodfin (before it got to the others) and the cory catfish's. I just did not recognize it. However, thanks to the information on this forum, I was able to recognize it and get a handle on it.

Sadly, Kirby the panda garra jumped out of the tank. It was when I removed the plastic strip on the glass lid which left a large enough opening for Kirby to climb out. Found Kirby died up on the floor.

I replaced the lost fish with different species. I rehomed the red eye tetras, purchased one koi angel fish and nine rainbow threadfin and added three more harlequin rasboras. 

Equipment Update

I am using a Tidal 55 hob for mechanical filtration and also put a Sara prefix filter  on the canister filter. The prefix filter is  for mechanical filtration and activated charcoal. The canister filter is mainly for biological only. This system is working well at the moment. The prefix lasting up to three weeks before cleaning and the tidal hob changing weekly.

After trying using and not using (pellet size) carbon, the water is clearer and I decided to keep using it. 

I decided to use the prefix filter because I tired of sticking my hands in the aquarium to clean the intake sponge prefilter. By me using the prefix filter, I disturbed the fish less from sticking my hands in the tank and making cleaning a bit easier, since it is outside the tank.

Store Purchases

I've made three Co-op purchases, the latest included the new usb air pump. 

The air pump has a well built feel to it, after charging it, I unplugged it, and it did not miss a beat when battery mode kicked in. It continued to pumped the air with ease. I also find the pump quiet. The cord some complain about, did not affect me. If it did, I have longer cords readily available anyway.  

Another purchase was the Co-op test strips. I'm not a fan of these. The ph reading is a good one point off resulting in me losing confidence in the other readings. I'll use the rest until depletion - but another purchase is unlikely.  

These are my updates and have a wonderful day.


Edited by Hoi Polloi
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