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I'm working on setting up a few things, working on some surprises, which leads me to a few questions....

1. For Amazon specifically, is there a "good brand" or a difference between brands for botanicals? I'm looking for 100+ pack of alder cones.

2. I made a thread on it, but food, I really need to get some flake, leaning towards bug bites or discus granules. Everything is slightly more expensive not ordering from the Co-op but that's where the gift card is.  Is there any issue feeding hikari discus food to normal community fish? Does anyone have experience with bottom dwellers and the fluval foods?

3. Any ideas on hardscape, mopani or otherwise, rocks, is there a good place to get random bits?  I really miss the WYSIWYG, but all I can seemingly find is lifeguard aquatics off Amazon as an option right now.  Prices have gone up, what was cheap is now a $30 piece of mopani 😞

 

Thank you for the help, any experience will be appreciated.

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To help answer your questions:

1. I have not bought any botanicals off Amazon, but have from many other places. Just do some research, look for what you want and best prices. I've bought botanicals off eBay sellers, Esty, and several websites.

2. I feed all kinds of food to all my fish, I would not worry about just because it says discus, I get all sorts of foods that I win in raffles at local fish club meetings, mix it all together and that's what I feed. What you do have to watch for, is if you have fish that are mainly herbivorous not giving them too much protein, and vice versa with fish that are carnivores getting plant based food. But, if you have community omnivorous fish, don't be afraid to try a variety. 

3. I have had good luck ordering some driftwood from Etsy, most of the time it is WYSIWYG. As for rock and stone, check out a local landscaping supply yard. I have one near me that sells all kids of rock by the pound, I got a couple five gallon buckets full of river pebbles and rock for just over $10. 

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On 1/9/2023 at 1:34 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

I'm working on setting up a few things, working on some surprises, which leads me to a few questions....

1. For Amazon specifically, is there a "good brand" or a difference between brands for botanicals? I'm looking for 100+ pack of alder cones.

2. I made a thread on it, but food, I really need to get some flake, leaning towards bug bites or discus granules. Everything is slightly more expensive not ordering from the Co-op but that's where the gift card is.  Is there any issue feeding hikari discus food to normal community fish? Does anyone have experience with bottom dwellers and the fluval foods?

3. Any ideas on hardscape, mopani or otherwise, rocks, is there a good place to get random bits?  I really miss the WYSIWYG, but all I can seemingly find is lifeguard aquatics off Amazon as an option right now.  Prices have gone up, what was cheap is now a $30 piece of mopani 😞

 

Thank you for the help, any experience will be appreciated.

1. For Amazon specifically, is there a "good brand" or a difference between brands for botanicals? I'm looking for 100+ pack of alder cones

 I havent ever tried their alder cones but I have done a few runs of driftwood from the lowest priced seller at the time without much concern and no issues when used. The unknown source could however unlikely risk pesticides but if you went with the intended for aquariums or shrimp that "should" be better. 

2. I made a thread on it, but food, I really need to get some flake, leaning towards bug bites or discus granules. Everything is slightly more expensive not ordering from the Co-op but that's where the gift card is.  Is there any issue feeding hikari discus food to normal community fish? Does anyone have experience with bottom dwellers and the fluval foods

I have used both foods in a community tank within a rotation. I didnt notice any hesitstion on eating either. The sterbai corys and dwarf chain loaches here will eat bug bites ( shrimp, bottom dweller, and community formulas) off the bottom.  That discus granule would probably not make it past the platys here. I would use it in a rotation and use it like a 

3. Any ideas on hardscape, mopani or otherwise, rocks, is there a good place to get random bits?  I really miss the WYSIWYG, but all I can seemingly find is lifeguard aquatics off Amazon as an option right now.  Prices have gone up, what was cheap is now a $30 piece of mopani 

Id check LFS, landsape supply, greenhouses, for the hardscape. I have used houston manzanita before thats WYSIWYG he is a pretty good supply of specific pieces

Edited by mountaintoppufferkeeper
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For the botanicals I like to order from 2 places. Harry's shrimp store on Etsy and small world aquatics. Harry's mainly for the cones and small world for there different leave choices and there botanical mixed bags and lotus pods. Small world aquatics have there own website.

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On 1/9/2023 at 2:34 AM, nabokovfan87 said:

3. Any ideas on hardscape, mopani or otherwise, rocks, is there a good place to get random bits?  I really miss the WYSIWYG, but all I can seemingly find is lifeguard aquatics off Amazon as an option right now.  Prices have gone up, what was cheap is now a $30 piece of mopani 😞

I lucked out hard-core on some dragon stone from petsmart. Was 20 pounds for $26. I doubt you will find that good of a deal but I do think petsmart and petco are acceptable places to look for stone. I was impressed tbh. 

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I’m a sucker for Dragon Stone and had some success with a mixed bundle off Amazon. It was decently priced, and came with 1 XL piece, X medium pieces, and X small pieces. I was pleased with what I received and felt it was fair for a mixed bundle. Granted, that was like 3 years ago when I was frantically setting up all my tanks. Risk vs. reward for sure, but sometimes the risks pay off!

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Yeah, same with me @AllFishNoBrakes I bought two boxes of stone. One is ohko / dragon and the other was seiryu.  The seiryu I got was kind of underwhelming and 2 of the 5 pieces were a mismatch.  Hard to explain, but they weren't really conducive in shape and texture to look like it was even the same stone! One of them was a mass of white and was shaped like a bowl, the others were more like slate or long / flat rocks.  When I got the ohko I was really, really happy because I got one stone that was massively perfect!  It had deep grooves, it was tall, flat, and it was perfect for anything.  Along with that was 2-3 small nano size stones and one that just was again, out of place.

I do still have the big rock, but I wish I had more Seiryu to build a design.  I have one big piece, not a lot. After spending $80+ on stone, it's difficult to get bigger pieces and scape a 75 without hand picking it. Without getting some "boulders" or a special order of sorts.
 

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If there is a Lowe's near you, they have in their landscaping section "Brown Garden Rock" and "Gray Garden Rock" that look to my eyes like dragon stone and seiryu/ryouh stone, respectively, at 44 pounds for about $150, with free in-store pickup. My LFS charges $3 per pound, so it's not any cheaper, and I'm assuming it's just the one big lot and not WYSIWYG, but if you need a whole bunch or maybe you can split it with a friend, and don't have any better options, you could do worse.

They also have what looks like spider wood under "terrarium tools". For the record, I didn't go this route, so I have no first hand experience with it. But there is a year-old video from Prime Time Aquatics about it that I remember from my hardscape search:

 

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On 1/10/2023 at 6:40 AM, Rube_Goldfish said:

If there is a Lowe's near you, they have in their landscaping section "Brown Garden Rock" and "Gray Garden Rock" that look to my eyes like dragon stone and seiryu/ryouh stone, respectively, at 44 pounds for about $150, with free in-store pickup. My LFS charges $3 per pound, so it's not any cheaper, and I'm assuming it's just the one big lot and not WYSIWYG, but if you need a whole bunch or maybe you can split it with a friend, and don't have any better options, you could do worse.

Oh yeah, 100%.

Those used to be sold as decorative garden rock and then Bentley made a video and ruined it for everyone 😂 Used to be able to get a massive 40 lb box, shipped to the house for free for pretty much $20-30 depending on variety.  That is also Lifegard Aquatics but is a killer deal if you can find it.

I will very likely spend some time if / when I can hunting that down.  I've also looking into trying to order directly from them, but alas wasn't able to when I was searching at that time.

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