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Afishionado’s Aquatic Antics and Adventures

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Hi all!

As I am planning the eventual “overhaul” of pretty well all of my aquariums in the near future, I figured this was a good time to start my journal, and follow the progress on all of these tanks. I‘l introduce each of my tanks as I come to them, but I currently have running a 75 gallon, 20H, 10 gallon, 5 gallon, 10 gallon quarantine, and a 2.5 I’m considering setting up at some point or another. The 75 will be the main focus of this journal I’m sure, as it has been my favourite tank thus far, and I’m always experimenting and trying new things, so I am sure that I will have questions galore. I should also mention that I am hoping to keep my tanks relatively low maintenance, and am hoping to eventually get each tank down to maybe one waterchange a month. Anywho, here’s my first tank to introduce:

The 10 Gallon Dirted Tank:

So after using this tank exclusively for breeding projects, grow out, and quarantine up to this point, I decided it was time it finally got set up a long term planted tank. After a solid scrub down, I used Krylon Fusion Gloss Black to paint the back of the tank (my first time painting a tank!!), and was quite happy with the results. I set a layer of egg crate on the bottom to try and prevent dirt creep. For the “dirt” layer, I ended up using worm castings, which I think should work similar to potting soil, but without paying for the huge wood chunks I had to sift out. I capped this with a generous inch or so of well washed traction sand - I wasn’t able to find pool filter sand locally, and in the spirit of experimentation, decided to give traction sand a shot. From there I filled the tank, and that is where it has been left since. I still want to add water movement of some sort, and was considering just a small water pump, but am now thinking it may be worth it to just throw a sponge filter in there to make it easy.  Lighting is a Nicrew LED btw.

My plan for this tank is either endlers livebearers, or more likely microrasboras and some little shrimps. Probably some ramshorn snails too. In terms of planting/scape, I’ll take any suggestions I can get. I really love Dwarf Aquarium lilies, but I feel like they reach such a size that they may be more well suited for my 20H or 75 gallon. Any advice at all is welcome!

Just Dirt and Egg Crate:


Add Sand and Water:


Edited by Afishionado
Typo (overall -> overhaul)
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  • 2 months later...

Hey all… so long time no see… it’s been an especially busy couple of months for me, so unfortunately the forum had to take a quick back seat. I hope I can be more consistent in the future, but I’m the type who likes to be involved in a hundred different things, so I never know what my free time looks like.

Anyways as far as aquariums go, I’ll start with my 10 Gallon Dirted Tank. This tank went through the algae bloom that I hear is typical for most dirtied tanks. I did manual removal of the algae for a while, but it was also loosely attached, so when I threw in the diy box filter I made (considering posting overview of how I made it, if there’s any interest) it was all sucked away into the filter quite quickly. After the algae was dealt with I switched to a sponge filter, and the box filter I think has acted as a pseudo-refugium now, with algae growth in there I think slowing down algae growth in the main tank?

Once the tank was testing good, I did a test run with a few snails, and then decided to use the tank as quarantine for three new young swordtails and a pair of African Butterfly Cichlids, which I knew to be healthy but wanted to keep an eye on. I also added a passive co2 system I’m trying out, a lilaeopsis brasiliensis mat, and planted a pot of hydrocotyle tripartita japan, which are just starting to grow in. The hydrocotyle had been in a different personal tank beforehand, so some Java moss has also come along for the ride.

Within the past week, I saw eggs miraculously appear from the African Butterflies, and so I removed the swordtails for fear of the eggs being eaten. However I also was emptying out my 75 gallon at the time (see below), and so I had to move my 4 ottos into the tank because  I felt best about them getting access to algae in the 10. The eggs lasted about a day before some started disappearing, but were all eaten by the second morning. I haven’t been able to find a ton of information on breeding these guys online - I don’t know if anyone on hear has any experience? As I finish writing this I’ve been watching the pair chase each other around the tank, and it looks like they may have started digging a pit hidden away in the corner under behind the hydrocotyle

Updated View of the Tank:


The Male (are these breeding colours?):



The Female and some ottos:



The Female Guarding Her Eggs:


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The 20H UGF Tank:

This 20 gallon Aqueon kit was my first ever aquarium, and has been through many many iterations. I’ve kind of used it as my main experiment tank, as well as the home of a lot of my breeding and grow out. In line with these experiments, after being lucky enough to receive a huge bag of used Seachem Flourite, I decided it was finally time to go about setting up the under gravel filter I’d bought for this tank. I have an Aqueon QuietFlow 10 air pump running both the two heads of this Penn-Plax Under Gravel Filter, as well as my second diy box filter. Flow has tended to be quite slow, but being a UGF, I haven’t seen really any dead spots, and I prefer the gentler flow a lot of the time anyway.

I then took every brick cave or hide I had and threw it into the tank, as my main goal was to provide as many possible caves for my plecos as possible. At some point I’d like to switch to a smaller one of those fancy stacks of water spikes and pleco caves the high level breeders use, but for now I’m sure this will do. I also filled the tank with Java moss because I believe it’s great for hosting little microorganisms, providing hiding spaces, and processing nitrates. In a similar vein, I have some pothos, a small spider plant, and a arrowhead plant sticking out the top of the tank for the time being, although I hope to move these to my 75 once it is back in business. The two sweet potatoes coming out of this tank aren’t moving though (I hear they’ll rot eventually, so I suppose the sweet potatoes are moving, but the shoots will stay), and I hope to eventually have a good amount of leaves around the top and sides of tank. I also have two very grown in pots of Anubias (barteri nana maybe?) which I am growing out, and a top covering of salvvinia for nitrate removal and selling to the lfs. In terms of stocking, I currently have 3 super red Bristlenose (1m/2f), ~3 Kuhli loaches, 2 leftover panda cories from back when I was breeding them, a group of male endless livebearers, a ton of young platies, 3 swordtails (1m/2f), and more ramshorn snails than I can count. There’s also supposed to be an assassin snail or two in there somewhere, theoretically. 

The final inhabitants of this tank are the reason behind the Penn-Plax net breeder at the front. After being away from home unexpectedly for a week, I came back to an absolutely huge clutch of eggs from the super red Bristlenose that I had nearly lost all hope of breeding. After waiting for the eggs to hatch and absorb nearly all of their yolks, I counted about 80 babies while moving them to their net.

Full Tank View:



One of the Female Bristlenose:



Top Down View Into the Breeder Net:


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The 75 Gallon Showtank:

So for starters, this is what my 75 gallon looked like in its “prime” thus far:


I was quite proud of this tank, and only use this picture to show what I think this tank can be, and what I’ve proven I’m capable of already. However, in the year since this photo was taken, I have had a lot of fish “move out”, whether it was to a new home or unfortunate loss due to old age. I have also had a big spike in black beard algae presence, and have sold/lost/gifted a lot of my plants. Finally, after having grown out a group of blue polar tiger parrots in this tank, and knowing I wanted to do a reset very soon, I ripped all the plants out in an effort to catch the tiger parrots so I could sell them. I’ve also moved all of the remaining fish (2 young SAE’s that perplexingly won’t touch my BBA, 1 adult female wild type Bristlenose, 2 of her younger wild type children, the last Pygmy Cory, a runt boesmani rainbow, and couple straggler cardinal tetras, cherry barbs, young plates, and hengeli Rasboras) to a spare ten gallon. This leaves me with a tank that looks like this:


Really from here, I know my general direction, but not exact plans. I will manually remove the bba from the plants and tank, but also would like to use something like ?hydrogen peroxide? to try and get as close to eradicating it as possible. I love my fx6, but as I want to focus more on simplicity, so I think I’ll be switching this tank over to sponge/box filtration, and want to start using a new 200W fluval e-series heater on this tank (I want to use Cory’s suggestion of running tanks cooler for less ornery and longer living fish). I also have never been a huge fan of root tabs, so I’m considering dirting this tank as well…. I also have a large amount of emergent peace lilies, pothos, and a spider plant that I want to nest at the waterline. Finally, for hard scape, I’ve removed the huge piece of Malaysian, as I found it just took up too much space where I’d prefer to have plants. So I’m considering now either no wood or rock and just limited hides and plants, or potentially the two pieces of wood on slate pictured below, which I’m considering nestling together and wrapping in Java moss:


In terms of stocking, in addition to returning the fish that I removed temporarily from the tank, I want to potentially add to this tank the: African butterfly cichlids, kuhli loaches, panda cories, ottos, swordtails, and maybe the platies and/or some endlers? With such a great volume, I feel like this is a good tank for passive breeding and I would love to have many large groups of small fish breeding and growing out. With so many young Bristlenose being produced, I feel the 20 would be too small for grow out, and would like to move the babies into the 75 when they’re big enough, but worry that my large sword plant may get destroyed when they come to size - my three Bristlenose that had been in the tank with that plant never seemed to touch it though? I also would consider moving my adults super reds to the 75 and doing something else fun in the 20? Maybe the African butterflies and some schooling Fish, maybe something else? Finally for the livebearers and African butterflies, I feel some passive breeding would be very fun, and hopefully partially fund the hobby moving forward, even if the endler and platy babies end up just becoming food for some very well fed swordtails. I also am considering adding a few quarter-ish size angelfish to the tank as I know I have interest in potentially keeping an angelfish display some day, and want to start a growing out the young fish now, and they would also double for population control for the livebearers so it doesn’t get too out of hand. I also love pearl gouramis and Bolivian rams though… so many ideas. Really in general I don’t have any distinct plans for this tank, and would love as much advice or suggestions as you all may have. 

It appears that the first mini-essay I did was no fluke… I have a feeling that a lot of my updates will come in the occasional sporadic intensive, and while I still have a few more tanks to share, this is all I have time to fully type out today. Thank you again for reading this one, feel free to let me know your thoughts, and I hope to be much more active in maintaining this journal and activity on the forum in the coming weeks. Thanks everyone!

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