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Crabby's Journal - Nano Aquariums & Fish Breeding


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Hey all!

I have a really bad tendency of creating lots of topics when I use forums, with the intent of keeping them going, and I just suck at it. So I thought a journal would be a good idea. I probably won't get as many people seeing my posts here, but that's alright. Maybe I can inspire someone, or give some advice to someone else, or get some advice from another person! Hopefully all three, but I'd bet it'll mostly be the latter 😄

So for a bit of an introduction to the journal, so you can get a bit of an idea what I do and where I'm at:

I'm an Australian fish keeper, who is really into nano fish and shrimp, and getting into breeding. I've kept fish for the last year and a bit, but I feel like I've been in the hobby for almost 2 years because I spent months and months doing research, so I could hit the ground running with my first tank. The Aquarium Co-Op YouTube channel was very useful during that time for me, as I'm sure it was for many people here. Thanks to ACO, I definitely hit the ground running, albeit with a few stumbles. Within the last year I've grown from my single original planted & scaped 29 gallon tank, to 5 tanks, including a rack of planted 5 gallon algae farms and a 5 gallon tank that I originally had as an endler & shrimp breeder, which has since become a grow-out for fry. I'll get some photos of all of my tanks in a few days, after I've cleaned them all.

For a quick run-down of my tanks:

29 Gallon planted:
Breeding trio of calico BNs (Chip, Mango and Jimmy), breeding pair of apistogramma nijsseni (Aegir & Ran), 10 remaining apisto fry, 15x ember tetras, 1 female pseudomugil luminatus (named Khamun - my male who has passed away was named Tut, so they were Tut 'n Khamun), 1 SAE (Watson), and a whole lot of calico bristlenose fry.

5 gallon grow-out:
40 or so CPD fry.

5 gallon rack:
Top tank has my male HMPK betta (named Bear) and 4 emerald moscow guppy juveniles.
Middle tank is a W.I.P. iwagumi scape, with a breeding group of 5 Celestial Pearl Danios.
Bottom tank has my female HMPK betta (Tessa) and my single blue dream shrimp. Honestly, he needs a name at this point.

Once I'm out of lockdown I am immediately going around to some local shrimp breeders to get some shrimp. Caridina for the iwagumi, blue dreams for the bottom tank, bloody mary's for the top one, and maybe even some oranges or yellows for the fry grow-out. 


To quickly summarise what I've done for breeding - I've spawned my apistos many times, and raised the fry all up in their tank. I'm one of the only nijsseni breeders in Melbourne, which is pretty cool. 
I did a bunch of endler and guppy breeding last year, but unfortunately lost over 100 fish due to a mass die-off. Through my endler breeding, I discovered the power of plants. Without a HEAVILY planted tank, there's no way I could've kept over 50 endlers in a 5 gallon. With shrimp and snails too. It would be madness! But with the help of plants, it was a breeze, and they bred like crazy! Unfortunately I never got the shrimp going well, but I think that was due to my roughly fortnightly 25%+ water changes. Hence the singular blue dream. 
I've attempted breeding pseudomugils and bettas with no success. I definitely want to try both again.
I've recently succeeded in breeding BNs, as well as CPDs. Very different stories with those though. I got my calico BNs as possibly my first fish. They've spent the last year growing out, and they finally spawned a couple weeks ago.
On the other hand, I got some CPDs less that a month ago, after a conversation with a bloke at my LFS who told me they have a lot of trouble getting them in and could do with a local breeder as a supplier. They spawned within a week of me getting them, and I currently have a bunch of free-swimming fry in the grow-out. They actually became free-swimming today, which was very exciting. I guess I'll start feeding in a couple days, when they're all swimming. There's enough microfauna in there for a while.


A couple more things that I forgot to mention - due to my reliance on plants, I don't really water change unless I need to clean algae or poop. Nor do I regularly water test. I don't exactly aim for parameters anymore either. My tap water comes out with a very low TDS, so it's very soft, and luckily the pH is neutral, which is really handy for me. 
Also, in case you haven't realised yet, I have a problem with typing. I say way too much. It is impossible for me to be concise, because I like to be expressive, and I've always got so much to say!

Anyways, that's about all for now. I'll definitely keep updating this with whatever comes up, and share some photos soon. If you made it all the way through this post, I congratulate you. 

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First round of photos. Just realised I haven’t taken a pic of the entire 29 gallon in 6 months, so I won’t include one of those, but you can have a look at most of my fish, a couple tanks, and a work-in-progress tank.



Collecting CPD fry


Some teeny CPD fry


Some more teeny CPD fry 




Iwagumi tank (w/ CPDs)


Ember tetras


BN fry in cave (through Java moss)





Tess + Bear (failed breeding project)


Ran + Ægir 


Ran trying to impress Ægir (with Watson trying to get in on the action 😂)


Apisto fry



The Rack (pre-algae farm)


(Not so secret) secret work-in-progress shrimp tank that I’m creating with one of my mates. Can’t wait to stock it properly once we’re out of lockdown. 



And that’s all! For now at least. I’m considering that if I make too many posts here I might have to start a journal specifically for the rack, since I’ve seen people do that, but I’d prefer to keep it centralised. All my tanks seep into each other eventually (also kind of literally - all my water-change water comes from the 29 gallon). 

Edited by Crabby
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  • 2 weeks later...

Okay, first proper post on this thread; it’s a question.

So I think I’m losing some of my CPD fry. I’ve seen 3 or 4 floating, dead, and had to catch them out, but I’m also seeing much less swimming in the water column. One that I saw the other day had a little white spot on the end of this tail. I’m wondering if this could be fin rot? It would be easy to tell on a normal sized fish of course, but these are still just a couple millimetres long. I haven’t done any water tests yet cuz I’ve been so busy, but I’ll try to get one in. It’s really worrying. Very glad I didn’t go ahead and start another batch.

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When I was breeding CPD the fry prospered only if I did lots of water changes. I never had high nitrates due to heavy planting but the would not do well for me unless I did lots of water changes. I had the most success 10-20% daily 50% 2x/week. I hope that helps. Water changes have also helped me in the past with clearing fin rot. 

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Oh crud… well, I haven’t done any water changes yet cuz I was scared I would suck up the fry, and I figured they wouldn’t be mucking up the water too much considering their size and the mass of Java/xmas moss in there. That’s probably why. Thanks so much @Guppysnail

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On 9/8/2021 at 11:16 PM, Crabby said:

Oh crud… well, I haven’t done any water changes yet cuz I was scared I would suck up the fry, and I figured they wouldn’t be mucking up the water too much considering their size and the mass of Java/xmas moss in there. That’s probably why. Thanks so much @Guppysnail

They don’t but the teeny tiny food they eat does pretty much destroy water. Get a fine prefilter sponge cheap on amazon reall fine like fluval edge prefilter put the on the hose intake. It’s what I did. Or use a pantyhose stocking to cover it. 😁

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On 9/9/2021 at 1:30 PM, Guppysnail said:

They don’t but the teeny tiny food they eat does pretty much destroy water. Get a fine prefilter sponge cheap on amazon reall fine like fluval edge prefilter put the on the hose intake. It’s what I did. Or use a pantyhose stocking to cover it. 😁

I use sponge filters. So not super fine, but they’re definitely some of the finer sponges I’ve seen.

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On 9/9/2021 at 7:15 PM, Guppysnail said:

I meant for the siphon for water change so you don’t have to worry about sucking up babies 😁

Ahhh… well that makes much more sense. Whoops. I definitely want to try that. I use airline tubing for siphons in my nano tanks anyway just to be safe, but a little pantyhose on the end would be perfect.

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Shrimp Update!

Well, technically it isn't a shrimp update cuz it's the first time I'm properly talking about shrimp, but it's a journal update that also contains information about shrimp 😄

I've kept shrimp a couple times before, but it's never gone very well. I've attempted keeping both caridina (tangerine tigers) and neocaridina (blue dreams) and I've had some breeding, but I always ended up with a bit of a die-off. I believe I still have one blue dream left, although I haven't seen him in a couple days (eek!). After a very long time struggling to successfully keep shrimp, I think I worked it all out with my last 3 shrimp from my final attempts, who lived much longer lives than all their predecessors.

So, with that in mind, when I saw some super cheap, beautiful crystal red shrimp pop up on gumtree near me, I couldn't resist. I bought 20 (got 2 extras for free), and split them between my CPD 'iwagumi' tank, and my fry tank. The fry tank unfortunately no longer contains fry, but I'm going to produce some over the next week with my newfound knowledge that regular water changes are necessary. Irritatingly, regular water changes are one thing I found to be bad for shrimp, so I'm going to have to make sure I match parameters with my water change water. I think I should be able to manage it, although I'm also going to drop down my production to 40 fish instead of the hoped 80, and do a small water change every second day. I'm confident that this will help, and so will the shrimp.

I really adore these CRS, and I can't wait to start breeding the high grades together. I've got a couple SS that I'm just in love with.

Anyways, all seems to be going well for now. The ones in the CPD tank hide a bit more, but they're more active when the lights are off, so I think that's a good reason for me to keep the lights off for most of the day and prevent algae growth from consuming the tank again. 

Also, our restrictions are lessening slightly over this weekend so I'll be able to go to the LFS again and pick up some more plants. Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Edited by Crabby
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