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Hi all, 

Thought it made sense and would be nice to document the start of my new aquarium.

Background: I have been having multiple aquariums (SA cichlids, L numbers, Cory's mostly) for most of my adult life. 

In 2015 I moved to Spain for work and up until recently been moving around too much and never felt rooted and at home enough (if that makes sense) to setup aquariums again. In my current home there is just too limited space to do what I want how I want, however I found some space to at least get back to 1 aquarium and get the juices flowing again. Thanks to this forum and Youtube!

So I got a pair of new 96 liters about 2 years back thinking it would be the start of a small fish room but the house I planned it for never materialized due to legal paperwork issues. I put them in storage and kinda forgot about them mostly, thinking one day I will find the right house and set them up in a proper room. 

Pulled one out of storage yesterday, filled it up to make sure its not leaking 

image0_3.jpeg

 

That went well, so put some black vinyl on the back and one side and put it in his new place: 

image0_2.jpeg

Edited by Ruud
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In past tanks I always used sand or gravel as bottom and had little plants. This time I want to try and do something better with plants, so hopped on the bike and went to the local pet store (that is expensive and has next to nothing in terms of fish) and got this: 

image1.jpeg

Considering water her is hard and high PH, I'd reckoned this might help softening it a little.

Next step putting in the substrate, fill her up with water and put all the stuff in it. I have a Ziss filter, an internal Fluval U2 sponge filter to help with bioload and a Sera 100w heater element. Might go back to an external canister in future, for now I am curious how the Ziss works. I ordered cheapish lights on Amazon that should come in on Wednesday. 

Question to the masters out here. Do I put a layer on top of the substrate?? Like rocks or gravel? I don't like fine gravel, I like the more rounded bigger gravel that @Dean’s Fishroom has in the tank that holds the big school of Cory's, Giant Otto's and whiptails. I'd like that but how do you call that type of gravel? Hoping Amazon can deliver me something similar? If not something like a thin layer of Flourite on top maybe?

Ruud

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Slightly off topic, but what is it like setting up a new aquarium in Spain. It looks like you do a bit of shopping on online, but what is like shopping at the local fish store? Do the stores have a good selection of supplies? I notice the substrate bag is in English. Is that typical? It seems like the German brands like Eheim would lead the pack.

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Frankly, @Daniel, in my experience it is dificult. First of all there are no PetCo's or similar big box stores here in Spain in the aquarium world. So you are left with local pet shops or specialized stores. 

If you look at a city like Barcelona there are only a handful stores that have a half decent selection of fish. All the fish they carry are extremely small (think Cory's of less than an inch) and young. Stock usually is quite bad (Spain is still hurting a lot from the economic crash of 2008 and stock means cash and therefore stock is very limited). To give you an idea, take a look here, this is probably one of the best shops I know in Barcelona: 

WWW.URBANNATURA.COM

There are some Spanish companies that make nice aquariums, like Blau 

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1 hour ago, Ruud said:

Any thoughts on my soil @Daniel ? I am tempted to find some nice gravel to put on top. 

This is an area I don't know much about. But, I know what I would do and what I think you do should and they are not the same thing.

I would just use the substrate you purchased without gravel on top because useless the bag says that the gravel substrate is recommended it is probably unnecessary and I would like that plain look.

But to you I would recommend that you find some nice gravel to put on top because I think that is what you would like to do and I don't think it would hurt, so I think you are free to do what you want.

Sorry for the mixed messages but as I said I don't have an informed opinion on this.

 

 

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Thanks @kammaroon that was actually one of the reasons why I got this type and not just gravel. Water is extremely poor quality here and very hard so can use every bit of help in softening it. I just posted this in a separate thread actually where I am also asking what brand of test strips people tend to use, but these are the parameters of my water out of the tap: 

NO3 50 (mg/l ppm)

NO2 0

GH > 21

KH 20 >

PH 8

So yeah, hoping the soil will help a bit in lowering my GH. You make a good point though that it will only help with water quality if it is more or less exposed. Tomorrow my lights get in, by then the mist should be cleared in the aquarium so will see how it looks then. 

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22 hours ago, Ruud said:

Frankly, @Daniel, in my experience it is dificult. First of all there are no PetCo's or similar big box stores here in Spain in the aquarium world. So you are left with local pet shops or specialized stores. 

If you look at a city like Barcelona there are only a handful stores that have a half decent selection of fish. All the fish they carry are extremely small (think Cory's of less than an inch) and young. Stock usually is quite bad (Spain is still hurting a lot from the economic crash of 2008 and stock means cash and therefore stock is very limited). To give you an idea, take a look here, this is probably one of the best shops I know in Barcelona: 

WWW.URBANNATURA.COM

There are some Spanish companies that make nice aquariums, like Blau 

I thought you'd be better over there than us in Turkey, but it seems lke the other way around. 

Stock wise you can find pretty much anything you like. As for the quipment, almost everything is available, Eheim, fluval, tetra jbl etc.

But I feel like we are a little bit short on meds, only seachem and sera products available.

But it is getting more expensive every single day as our currency crashed against USD pretty hard.

 

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My main issue here in Spain is that there are only a hand full of true quality places. I know one in Barcelona, and one in Madrid (which is a 7 hour drive away for me). Then there is the issue of few things to choose from and very small size of fish. Eheim, Tertra, Fluval and such is available but usually much cheaper to get through Amazon than buying in the shops. Food wise the assortment also is low. 

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Today's update, not entirely happy yet with the substate as the water is still quite cloudy and whenever I touch it to change the thickness at some places, it's instally fully clouded again. I know its just a matter of patience and time, but still undecided whether I a thin layer of gravel on top to help against clouding up. 

Plugged in the Eheim 250 (700l/h) yesterday but didn't have any Polyfil or something similar, so have ordered that on amazon and should get in today, also will change the medium a bit from the stuff that comes with the Eheim filter. Also got the light in, a Nicrew classic led G2 (basic light from amazon but will have to do for now)

Hopefully I can go to Barcelona tomorrow afternoon to get some plants. Hope to get at least a moss ball, some Anubias nana petite and anything else that I see and like. Maybe a sword or something. Fingers crossed I can go, cause the weekend I am locked down again in my pueblo!

Pics to follow once I have something worthwhile showing!

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7 minutes ago, Ruud said:

I know its just a matter of patience and time, but still undecided whether I a thin layer of gravel on top to help against clouding up.

Once I had just bare naked garden soil as a substrate with no cap. It took a couple weeks to clear. Eventually (like at 6 weeks) if you disturbed the soil it would cloud up for 1 hour and then go back to clear. So even without a cap and even with disturbance the tank will stay clear if you have patience.

Most people choose a thin gravel or sand cap for that very reason, because it helps at first and helps a little bit in the long run. But in the longest run it doesn't make that much of a difference.

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That was my chain of thoughts as well.... put in a thin gravel cap or be patient and leave it at is. I quite like the brown actually and I am picky with this kind of stuff - not any gravel will do, it needs to be pretty gravel haha.

Also when I stuff the filter full with cotton wool or polyfil and run it for a few days like that, it will be much better. 

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Went to a fish store in Barcelona that I never went before and got me some plants. Here they are acclimating in the tank, after adding more substrate (hence the clouds)

Got Echinodorus Bleheri, a Annubias nana petite, a type of Java fern I think (with the curly leaves), a regular java fern and a moss ball. Perhaps someone can comment whether I have the names right (better pics to follow)

image0-7.jpeg.3fa9930d0b0dc8f6d44f74d83096bd38.jpeg

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It’s all a matter of taste, but if I could get all my fish as small juveniles, that would be my first choice.

$4.50 for healthy Corydoras paleatus and no shipping, sounds good to me!

I find my fish do better when I buy a decent size group of young fish and raise them in my water feeding them my food.

I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the pond, but I envy your choices. 🙂

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I guess you have a point here indeed Daniel, maybe buying babies is not that bad. 

Actually come to think of it, the assortment is a bit weird here. That shop, that really had good quality fish, clean tanks, knowledgeable staff etc... I see 10 types of Molies, but no Swords. 10 types of guppies and goldfish. Several types of Cories (Aeneus, albino, julio) but no L numbers. Discuss and Angels from babies to full grown. 1 type of Ramirezi's but no Apisto's. Lots of schooling fish and several types of Gourami's. They had a few very nice knife fish (that I don't know anything about) that my gf really liked but allready told her it will outgrow everything!

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12 minutes ago, Ruud said:

 That shop, that really had good quality fish, clean tanks, knowledgeable staff etc... I see 10 types of Molies, but no Swords. 10 types of guppies and goldfish. Several types of Cories (Aeneus, albino, julio) but no L numbers. Discuss and Angels from babies to full grown. 1 type of Ramirezi's but no Apisto's. Lots of schooling fish and several types of Gourami's.

Only one of my local fish stores meets those standards. And the important thing, it looks like your having fun.

And I also think this Forum is part of what makes it fun. When I do something interesting, other people are interested. And when other people do something interesting, I get to participate in their joy. It doubles the pleasure on everything fish keeping related.

I can even talk to a Nederlander living Spain about what Spanish fish store looks like! 🙂

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Thanks @akconklin! Yeah happy I got that one, its quite an okay size as well. They are hard to get here and most of them are really small.

Any idea if I am on point with the names of the other plants?

 

Yes @Danielyou are right. I am having fun, geeking out at a fish store! And being here with like minded people, sharing,  makes the hobby more fun. Cant wait till my water clears, put in some Polyfil so hopefully better tomorrow.

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7 minutes ago, Ruud said:

Thanks @akconklin! Yeah happy I got that one, its quite an okay size as well. They are hard to get here and most of them are really small.

Any idea if I am on point with the names of the other plants?

I do recognize the java fern, but unfortunately, I still don't know many of the plant names yet. I know the ones in my tank...lol. And I'm slowly learning the others. 🙂 

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I got me a pretty spectacular piece of wood, think its spider wood? Though its a bit bigger in the aquarium than I thought it would be (it always looks smaller in the store). Either way I think it will look good. Now the eternal wait for it to sink 🙂

IMG_3244.JPG

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I haven't really identified the curly leaves plant, just thought its some type of fern. I don't think its the Crispatula, but I probably need to ask for an ID in the plants section here on the forum.

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I am starting to think about the most difficult question and probably the sole reason for MST: what fish to put in your only tank?

Its a 25 gallon, plenty of filtration (185 gallon/hour), substrate and plants which will take some of the bio load as well. But its still a fairly small planted community tank. I am thinking: 

- Pair of Apisto's - I do like the Borelli's for instance and I can most likely find them here. I know a trio is better but not really after spawning and thinking of keeping the load lower by limiting myself to a pair

- about 10 tetra's, I like black tetra's or maybe just go with Neon's

- 6 Cory's - maybe aeneus depending on what I can find

- alternative to the 6 cory's maybe a nice L number. I would love to have again a L260 or 134 but difficult to get here. 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

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I don't have any of those fish, but you sound like you are really thinking it through thoroughly. I think what's important is that the fish are visually appealing and interesting to you.  I do think it's wise to avoid fish who are going to multiply a lot, since you are limited in tank space. Looking forward to seeing what you choose!

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Wow! I'd say you can't go wrong with any of those. My first reaction is do the Apistos. Spawning Apistos is so much fun, as is raising the babies. On second thought, spawning Apistos is old hat. Take the road slightly less traveled and do the Corydoras instead. Still a lot of fun and just a tiny bit more of a challenge.

But wait! I have never bred tetras (intentionally). Forget doing the same old same old. Break out of the box and try breeding tetras. If that turns out to be fun, there is a million of them.

And personally I have never even kept any of the L numbers. That isn't the road less traveled, it is the road never traveled for me.

But the Apistos would cool....

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Cheers @Daniel @akconklin I can always count on your input! Actually... I don't really want to breed at this point (I mean I would love to... if I had another 6 tanks at minimum but right now I have not and have no space unfortunately... some day again!).

So either I go South American with dwarf cichlids and a support cast. Or I go perhaps a pair of Swordtails (but they will reproduce) and/or nice Mollies with tetras and ?

Its been years since I had fish and I want to get back with a bit easy fish. How easy are Borelli's to keep?

@Daniel with your experience and space... you should try a tank with a colony of L260's . Bare bottom tank, high flow... amazing!

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13 minutes ago, Ruud said:

@Daniel with your experience and space... you should try a tank with a colony of L260's . Bare bottom tank, high flow... amazing!

I really should do something different. Sometimes I feel like I doing something different, but if I am honest with myself it turns out I am just breeding Cichlids (or pygmy sunfish, which are essentially cichlids, though not technically) again. However, I did try something new recently after someone, @RovingGinger maybe mentioned them on the forum and that was Sparkling Gouramis. They turned out to be perky, inquisitive, smart and fun and even if they breed, you have plenty of room as they are very compact and the adults and fry can coexist mostly (kind of like livebearers and their fry, many are eaten but some survive).

I thought Borellis were easy to keep and you may not even need a heater with them.

Whatever you, do something you haven't done before.

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Its fun to think about stocking and planning. But I know myself, I might go to the fish store when my tank is fully cycled and come hope with something totally else just cause I fell in love. Bright red teacup platies for instance or sailfish mollies, or another Apisto. 

I never really thought about Gourami's as I have always been into South and central America fish somehow. Just took a look and these Sparkling Gourami's do look spectacular. 

Either way, this tank is all about returning to a hobby I gave up a while ago. I will enjoy whatever will be in it.

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So have been doing some stuff to the tank, the wood is now weighed down with a couple of old pleco caves and at least is staying in its place for now. It started to get covered in a fungus slime layer, I am sure this will go away in due time. 

Then I planted the Echinodorus and glued the Java fern to another piece of driftwood I had: 

IMG_3275.JPG

This was my first time glueing a plant to wood and it shows as you can see the glue blobs

I tested the water after having 40% mineral water/60% tap running for a few days and it shows:

NO3: 250

NO2: 5

GH: 7+

KH: 3

PH: 6.8

So NO3 very high and KH much lower than I thought (22 from tap). I guess its a combination of the soil, wood and adding mineral so will have to play around more with this. Either way I haven't really started cycling yet as my filter is full of cotton at the moment to filter the substrate. Perhaps later today I will pull it and start putting proper bio media etc.

I am a bit puzzled about what to do to lower the NO3 and upping the KH. NO3 from tap is around 20 so I guess adding tap water will solve both?

Best

Ruud

 

 

 

 

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Adding a current overview photo. Still need to plant the Anubias, most likely to the right of the marino moss ball, might need to add a bit of substrate still. 

The pleco caves are there to hold the wood down, a relic from the past when I had L260 and L134's.

IMG_3282.jpg

 

Edit: i need to start thinking about fertilizer and stuff. Seachem here is readily available, is there anything someone can suggest from the Seachem line? I have a fairly simple light that has a max of 1900 lumen (can adjust in 5 steps).

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I don't have a lot of experience with the SeaChem line as the 1 bottle per nutrient isn't my style, instead I would recommend an "all in one" especially for Java Ferns and Anubias as it takes a lot of the work out of it. I also tend to supplement with a few root tabs under any rooted plants if they start to look unhappy and always under bulb plants like lotus/lilies. I use Easy Green, but on your side of the pond I would look for a similar option (there are quite a few on Amazon but I have never used any of those to recommend any one).

The tank is really coming along nicely and I love that piece of wood you have, so much character! 

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Thanks @Ken Dyer , yes Easygreen is not available here unfortunately (I would love some Aquarium Coop gear but hey..) so might post a topic in the plants section asking for an alternative.

Thanks for the kind words on the tank, I allready enjoy it a lot and it doesn't even have fish in it. I forgot how rewarding it is to have a tank, and trying a bit harder with this one to make it pretty and planted.

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@Ruud I was searching for a decent botany book on aquarium plants and I found one and purchased it. It is called Aquarienpflanzen and the language it is published in is Nederlands.

image.png.7e734224078aa2afda77aad71c4ba003.png

Do you know anyone who can read Nederlands?🙂

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I have a few corrections on your post @Daniel. First of all the language spoken in The Netherlands (Nederland) is called Dutch 🙂 Then the book you show is in German, not in Dutch unfortunately but yes I most likely will understand it if its not too technical!

I hope you enjoy the book my friend!

Meanwhile on the tank: I changed the filter medium in the Eheim canister, removed the cotton as the water has cleared up a lot and put bio filter medium in it (the little ceramic cubes) along with coarse sponges and Polyfil. I glued the Anubius Nana on a small piece of driftwood and placed it in the tank, along with a few rocks I found that go well with the light. 

I tried my luck with an in vitro Baby Tears but doubt that will end up successful (see thread in the plants department) . Oh and I put in fertilizer for the plants. 

 

Pics later once the light switches back on (currently timed at 10hrs a day) 

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36 minutes ago, Ruud said:

I have a few corrections on your post @Daniel. First of all the language spoken in The Netherlands (Nederland) is called Dutch 🙂 Then the book you show is in German, not in Dutch unfortunately but yes I most likely will understand it if its not too technical!

I see that now. When I first read this:

1957 erschien in den Niederlanden das Buch "Aquariumplanten", das 1966 in der zweiten Auflage gedruckt wurde. 1971 brachte der Verlag Eugen Ulmer die erste deutsche Ausgabe unter dem Titel "Aquarienpflanzen" heraus. 1990 wurde die zweite deutsche Auflage publiziert, die auf der 1983 erschienenen vierten niederländischen Auflage basiert. In der deutschen Neuauflage wurde aber der Abschnitt über Wasserkelche komplett aktualisiert und umfasste alle bis dahin bekannten

I read the part in red to mean the book was in Dutch. I now see that the 1990 edition I purchased is in German and based off of the 1983 Dutch edition.

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IMG_3299.JPG.68cd5910296412fb44e8a34b3f88aeaf.JPG

 

Getting there. Went from 3 to 1 pleco cave to keep the driftwood down. Anubias glued, baby tears 'planted' . Put in fertilizer for the plants, filter setup with the right media etc. 

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3 hours ago, Daniel said:

I see that now. When I first read this:

1957 erschien in den Niederlanden das Buch "Aquariumplanten", das 1966 in der zweiten Auflage gedruckt wurde. 1971 brachte der Verlag Eugen Ulmer die erste deutsche Ausgabe unter dem Titel "Aquarienpflanzen" heraus. 1990 wurde die zweite deutsche Auflage publiziert, die auf der 1983 erschienenen vierten niederländischen Auflage basiert. In der deutschen Neuauflage wurde aber der Abschnitt über Wasserkelche komplett aktualisiert und umfasste alle bis dahin bekannten

I read the part in red to mean the book was in Dutch. I now see that the 1990 edition I purchased is in German and based off of the 1983 Dutch edition.

@DanielSince you like history and old books (like I do), I just got on ebay a first edition (1955) of Roger Tory Peterson's "Wild America" for 8 dollar plus shipping (shipping is 3x as expensive at the book lol). I am bit of a birder yes 🙂

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That looks to me like a pond or bladder snail. Cute little buggers and handy for cleaning up any food that sits in the substrate in my experience. Though mine look a little different so I am sure there is likely several species/variations so yours may be a stone cold killer. Keep an eye on him/her to see if they start fashioning a prison shiv and if so you'll know it is the latter 😉

I like snails in my tanks, but if you do not, they make excellent loach/puffer chow. 

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