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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...

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Well of course I recovered from the disaster, and it gave me a chance to try out a new scape. A few months later and the 75g was looking pretty good again. This was around November 2016.



Meanwhile, I found yet another free tank on Craigslist ( see a trend here? ). A 90g with a wrought iron stand. Boy it would look good in the dining room! The deal was I would have to retire the 55g in our bedroom. Ok, fine.

This gave me the opportunity to try a different color scheme and we stocked it with Angelfish, as we'd enjoyed some with one of the free 55s in the past. I used a white background and had some underwater blue lights to give it the accent color.


Six months later, Angels were doing what happy Angels do.


We didn't do anything with this at the time, but it was really cool to see.

Come early 2018, I finally got up the nerve to cut/drill glass and replaced the ugly plastic overflow ( which worked far better than I expected ) with one I made from spare glass. The toothed fence is made from some acrylic I found at the curb and slots inside the overflow.


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March 2018, there was a bit of a lull in our lives and my wife said, hey, why don't we (ie you) try to raise some of these angels. I'd never attempted any breeding but after much reading decided to give it a try. 


I pulled the leaf and put it in a jar with some air and meth blue. They hatched! Now I needed to figure out food. I came up with two different ways of doing BBS, an in-tank system and ye old half a 2 liter bottle to give myself the best odds of hatching some. It was a good thing I had more free craigslist tanks stashed in the basement. Both methods worked



Meanwhile, in the living room, the 75g got two upgrades. A DIY custom built acrylic overhead planter filter and a pretty darn nice custom built CO2 system.

Shown is the first day I planted the overhead filter.


And the CO2 tank on the stand I made for it, prior to staining.


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I had gotten three spawning pairs of angels in the 90g, and pulled another batch of eggs. As the babies grew, so did the tanks. This was around the beginning of May 2018.


And by October, we had sold some, moved some into the 90g with the parents and were still overstocked 😄


I must have been tired (or distracted by another hobby) by that point, as there are literally no more photos until 2019!

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Well the CO2 was doing its job on the 75G as I was routinely selling plants. This photo is from April 2019.


It appears I wasn't big on the hobby in 2019, as there is a dearth of photos.

Come February of 2020 was my second aquarium "disaster." Remember my custom overhead filter? Well, apparently I had done a bad job of welding one of the rear panels. One day I discovered a slow leak on the backside of the setup that ran straight down a vine to the drywall behind. It had worked great for 2 years but I was so upset at myself that I broke down the whole thing ( well, I had to anyway to repair the wall and dry out the floor ). I moved the CO2 system to the 90g as everything is easier to monitor there.


The 75g wasn't banished permanently though. My wife said the space just wasn't right without an aquarium there. It spent most of the last 2 years as an almost-no-tech riparium, looking something like this:


The idea being if no water was going in or out of the tank, there would be few problems. This was true, except it was an algae magnet. I'd guess due to the low flow and high organics, but I'm not sure.

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This pretty much brings us to modern day. Life's been a little different around here so I've been spending more time at home, and thus more time with the tanks.

The 150 got a rescape, a new light and the ugly white PVC replaced with black. The only bad thing about the new light is it shows the algae and original blue paint much better :D. I would not recommend a tank this tall to anyone, as it requires a ladder and to go shirtless to do maintenance on it! I've been growing out rainbowfish to go in here in other tanks, replacing the giant danios that are aging out. They have to be at least 3 inches long though, otherwise the pictus do them in at lights out. Everything else has been in here since initial stocking.

Current stocking list:

1 Boesemani Rainbowfish (m)

2 Turquoise Rainbowfish (m/f)

4 Australian Rainbowfish

2 Giant Danios

3 Clown Loaches (Heck of a time finding healthy ones!)

3 Pictus Catfish

2 Upside Down Catfish

1 African Featherfin



Next up is the 90g. I recently sold off about half my plants and did a small rescape. I had found the CO2 line was plugged for an indefinite amount of time and thus things were not growing as well and I'd had a bit of an algae battle. That was fixed as of about 10 days ago and things are on the up. As mentioned, the rainbows in here are growing out to go in the 150, except the Madagascars are staying. I'm a horrible location mixer!

Current stocking list:

4 Angelfish

3 Boesemani Rainbowfish (3m, temp)

3 Turquoise Rainbowfish (temp)

3 Australian Rainbowfish (temp)

2 Madagascar Rainbowfish (m/f)

1 Sterbai Corydoras ( rehome from a friend )

1 Yoyo Loach

1 Chocolate Zebra Pleco ( that lives in the wood and we only see during water changes, sigh )

I'm torn on whether I want more Yoyos or more Sterbais. I love them both and I know you're not supposed to keep singles.



The 75g in the living room has been filled up again at my wife's request. We're still running it ultra low tech. I recently discovered the guppies breed almost exclusively females at room (72 deg) temperature, so that may have an impact on our long term plan. I am really hoping to convince the cories to spawn though. They did at one time years ago but I didn't try to raise the fry. Note that 7 years later my diy background is till going strong! Only thing I wish was different was that I put more effort into it!

Current stocking list:

6 Male Fancy Guppies (various)

Unknown number of female guppies

11 Corydoras Aeneus (4 albino)



What's this, another tank? Well, at some point the 10g was used to house the cherry shrimp I kept in the 75g before the leak. Naturally, I had to make it look decent. I'd had a group of endler guppies, so they moved in as well. Its just kind of stayed since. There are some juvenille boesemani rainbowfish growing out that will soon go in the 90g. I bought them on aquabid and didn't realize how small they were. Curiously, they're all female, it seems, but I needed females anyway. You can see some BBS swimming around in the photo. My cherry shrimp colony hasn't seemed to have grown since I moved them to this tank. One day I'll try to figure that out, as I've seen a big berried female. The rainbows probably don't help, but this existed beforehand.

Current stocking list:

Boesemani Rainbowfish `Lake Aytinjo` (f)

??? Endler Guppies

~12 Red Cherry Shrimp


Edited by Vanish
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I decided to join this forum after watching @Cory's video


The concept for this forum is exactly in line with my expectations. I just can't get into the new wave social media that feels so shallow. I like the long form, slower pace of forums. The previous places I've posted have all gone quiet as posters have moved to Instagram or the like.

As my tanks are all looking pretty good, I've started to think on what my next adventure in the hobby will be. I keep dreaming of a breeding rack (rather than the display tanks I'm used to) and have been doing far too much reading/video watching/research into what would work for me. Breeding guppies, rainbows, plecos and cories all interest me, but there are some challenges I'd have to overcome. Notably, if I start any more tanks they MUST have some sort of auto-water change system, which leaves me with only one place in the house. Expect a thread from me on that in the near future!

Edited by Vanish
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On 8/21/2021 at 5:10 PM, md363 said:

You sound like you really know what you're doing and have some awesome tank setups!  🙂

Thanks... I dunno, I'm still learning all the time. I do know that I don't like playing chemist, so under stocking makes things easier and more stable.

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Well your tanks and fish and plants are very cool.  I agree also, that under stocking makes things easier and more stable, from what I've learned in my research before and during my process of starting my first aquarium.  I have much to learn and seeing your posts here definitely motivates me to learn as much as possible  🙂

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  • 4 weeks later...

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