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My ~15 gallon fish tank project


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1st of all hi y'all

2nd my experience in the aquarium sector is none (at least if you don't count helping my grandpa with his 2 fish tanks ~20 years ago)

I have some space on the side of my home office and i've decided to put a fish tank there.

It's a 60x30x30 cm | 23.6x11.8x11.8 inch. 54 liters | ~15 gallons

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The Aquarium is a Marina LED 54l KIT. It comes with an interior filter (Marina Jet 80) that has a sponge and active carbon and because there was some space I've added a couple of ceramic rings. To be honest the water flow generated by the filter feels a bit too powerful for the size of the tank.

It has a 10W LED lamp and a 50W heater.

I am doing a dark start. Did the hardscaping and placed the substrate and gravel. 

The gravel is between 0.1 to a bit above 0.3 mm, and like 80% of it it's rounded with no hard edges.

And under it is this fertile substrate (while the container is black, the substrate has mostly a sand color and texture with some larger black stuff):
https://dennerle.com/en/products/substrate/nutrient-substrate/deponit-mix-black-10in1/

This is how it looks today (day 3) after i did a water change - it was colored by the tannins, but it was very clear. Dunno if this matters, but outside chemical and mechanical treatment, our tap water, at the water treatment plant also goes under UV treatment.

 

 

image.jpeg.a9be4e54221c336021caec1acdbf7fd6.jpeg

 

I plan to start planting somewhere on the 22 or 26th next month

For plants:

 

  1. Hygrophila Corymbosa Siamensis
  2. Alternanthera Reineckii Rosanervig
  3. Ceratopteris Thalictroides
  4. Staurogyne Repens
  5. Cryptocoryne Wendtii Tropica
  6. Anubias Barteri var. Nana
  7. Vesicularia Ferriei Weeping
  8. Nymphaea Lotus Zenkeri Red

Not sure if I should add some Monte Carlo in the front or not. Or if i should get some floating platns or not :-?

 

Here's the planting map.

 

image.jpeg.f10033ae2dfe235cb432c77f6135a81d.jpeg

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And for the fish and other critters:

 

  • 2 White Wizard Snail (such a fascinating creature)
  • 4 Neocaridina Blue Aura (gorgeous color)
  • 3 Kuhli Loach (not quite sure if the gravel is right for them)
  • 10 Neon Tetra
  • 2 honey Gourami (the yellow will go well with the colors of the neon tetras)

 

*and yes i moved the heater from the side of the filter to a new location (you can see in the 1st photo) so it is in the water flow.

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Did some research, Kuhli tend to uproot plants. So, change of plans. I think my final fish selection will look like this

  • 1 White Wizard Snail
  • 4 Neocaridina Blue Aura 
  • 6 Corydoras Habrosus
  • 8 Neon Tetra
  • 2 honey Gourami 
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Nice setup and it's cool how meticulous you're being about planning. I love my Hygrophila Corymbosa, it's such a easy growing plant (at least it has been for me).

My bits of advice:

1) Give some more space between the wood and the glass. If it's too close it can make it annoying to clean.

2) The lotus out front may block the view of stuff in the back. At least in my experience it has a lot more leaves down low than you would expect. The crypt may be similar too. I know I was surprised with how big my crypts ended up getting.

3) Stick with fewer species and bigger schools. It tends to look better and it's easier to be sure everyone is getting fed. I know I was told this starting out and ignored it because it's exciting and there are so many choices but looking back I think it was solid advice.

4) It's good to have a plan rather than just going in blind and winging it. On the other hand be ready for things to change. Plants will die off or pop up in places you didn't want them. Just be really to go with in. I think there is a Japanese idea they talk about in aquascaping called wabi Sabi that's that idea.

Looking forward to see how things go!

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Of course there will be changes. Plants that will die, fish that will die, my main goal is to minimize losses and get a good final result. Most of the plants will be in vitro, with a couple of them being mature to help with the water stabilization. I will use a CO2 kit from Dennerle and I also got fertilizers, Tetra Nitrate Minus, Tetra Safe and Tetra Balance. The Dennerle Aquatest is on its way.

 

 

370440320_1274070503260651_4053425984793930385_n.jpg

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So AqAdvisor has this calculator and i have to say i like the result. They don't have the White Wizard Snail, but i don't think that will make a difference. My only question is should i go for two honey gourami or not 🤔

AquStockImage.png

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You can substitute Japanese trap door snails for the wizards but I don’t count them when using that site.  I’m so glad you love them. I adore the blue snoot cruising the glass with mine. 
 

2 honey gourami. Definitely 2. I have 3 boys in my 29. They are very social fish who enjoy their own kind for companionship. 
 

I find that aqadvisor rates high bioload for shrimp. I never include those in that site they have almost no bioload.  
 

If I can make 1 other suggestion. Habrosus Cory are small. They will hide if there are not enough of their own kind. I would add a group of 8 instead of 4. Those are very small bioload as well. Your plants will compensate for the extra bioload. Plants count as filtration but cannot be added to their calculations. 
 

I would also choose only 1 tetra type. That’s a lot of activity midwater  especially for calmer honey gourami. 
 

Sounds like a great start. I would not add everything at once. Add each thing and let the biofiltration catch up. 

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The plan is to add the snail, shrimp and cory 1st, and after a week i plan to add the neons and maybe 6 glowing tetras (i like the colors, don't care about the glowing part, but i do like the colors,  AqAdvisor didn't have the glotetras listed) and after another week the honey gourami.

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@MrHarrys Honestly, when dealing with 10g, 15g, even 20g tanks... I wouldn't worry too much about the typical schooling minimums... for example, if you got 12 neons, 12 glowlights, 12 corys, 12 honeys + shrimp... that's would be way too many, unless you plan on doing a ton of maintenance. Smaller tanks have their limitations, but you get to decide which limitation you go with. True, you will not see the schooling behavior so much, but you will have more interest watching a greater variety of fish.

I would stick to your basic plan on the fish (either list you have shown would be fine), just know that any baby shrimp will likely get eaten (particularly if you have gouramis or kuhlis), but the adults should be fine with a little plant cover and that may no be so bad given the size of the tank... you likely don't want a shrimp explosion on your hands. I refer to shrimp and snails as "edge" dwellers, because they pretty much live on any available surface and are quite happy to do so.

Just try the plants you like... then double down on the ones that do well to replace the ones that don't... simple. BTW... your tank is looking great... looking forward to seeing it fully up and going (we have similar tastes in fish, too.) Thanks.

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Black foil is here

image.jpeg.da2d0ae61ade5ee84c1a7695e12a893a.jpeg

It's a generic self adhesive foil from BricoDepot. Also the rocks in the tank are green slate, got'em for free from a local quarry.

And here's the tank with foil on the back and sides

image.jpeg.7a18c61b477912f469a6641528a65319.jpeg

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On 8/28/2023 at 4:46 PM, MrHarrys said:

AqAdvisor didn't have the glotetras listed

Glotetras are genetically modified black skirt tetras.

 

On 8/28/2023 at 4:46 PM, MrHarrys said:

i like the colors

This triggers the killifish evangelist in me, I would be slacking if I didn't recommend looking into killifish if you like bright colors in nano/small fish. For example if you want a bright orange centerpiece fish you could go with Aphyosemion Australe Gold:

image.png.76b74ba5620a63dd38283e3202306dbc.png

Or if you want blue and red you could go with Fundulopanchax Gardneri:

image.png.593cd892eae12b6dc36527bd6da2a554.png

They are hardy and active fish that sadly don't get much love in the hobby.

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On 8/29/2023 at 9:59 AM, MrHarrys said:

one of the pet shops here has no less than 77 types of them

What! That's a dream LFS! I thought I was lucky that the store near me had a few types occasionally...

On 8/29/2023 at 9:59 AM, MrHarrys said:

But aren't them too big for my tank?

It may be a bit small for some of the larger species but most things in Aphyosemion only grow to about 1.5-2 inches. Fundulopanchax Gardneri only gets to about 2 inches. A pair would be fine in a 5 gallon tank, your 15 gallon would be plenty of space for a pair along with other fish. There's a stereotype of crazy killifish keepers who have a closet full of little plastic totes for keeping/breeding killis. There's even a video on YouTube of them hatching and growing out in an elephant's footprint. That said, I don't think I'd keep them in anything smaller than a 5 gallon fur SC extended period of time once they have grown out.

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On 8/28/2023 at 4:21 PM, MrHarrys said:

So AqAdvisor has this calculator and i have to say i like the result. They don't have the White Wizard Snail, but i don't think that will make a difference. My only question is should i go for two honey gourami or not 🤔

AquStockImage.png

Once you have the plants in the tank my advice would be to get the shrimp in there prior to adding fish.  I would suggest starting with a minimum of 10, but just make sure you are past the initial setup stages on the tank.  (I can explain this a bit more in detail if you'd like, happy to help)

The goal in my perspective would be to let the plants take hold, let the shrimp colony take hold, and then add in the fish so that the colony can handle a bit of losses from the fish eating the shrimp.

If you're less concerned with having neocaridina shrimp and just want shrimp in general, amano shrimp are a great substitute and can be used in lieu of the neos here without concern of the fish bothering them. 

Edited by nabokovfan87
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What have you done to me...now i went down a rabbit hole :)))) 

I have some that i'm interested in and I have some questions: lifespan, how they act towards neon tetras, cory and shrimps. 

1. Simpsonichthys carlettoi

image.jpeg.c25a182cef01b9fe0adf9098219a66c5.jpeg

 

2. Aphyosemion bivittatum

image.jpeg.4da023aacf9ef179601d6cedc2dd2b59.jpeg

3. Aphyosemion striatum

 

image.jpeg.55663338e37f7df1320d7de8418579df.jpeg

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@MrHarrys Regardless of which fish and how many you end up with, I highly recommend what @nabokovfan87 mentioned about the order and timing of things. I am setting up a community tank with similar species. I will definitely be doing the plants first (no fish cycle), about a month later some shrimp and snails, and about a month after that, the first fish starting with the least territorial species first and the more temperamental going in last. I'm not in a rush and plan to enjoy each phase of my aquarium... and, it keeps me on my budget! lol 

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On 8/29/2023 at 11:03 AM, MrHarrys said:

Simpsonichthys carlettoi

That's a South American annual. I'm mostly familiar with African killifish but these are similar to African annuals where they'll live roughly a year. In nature they live in pools that dry up so they'll bury their eggs in the dirt to wait for rain to come again. These guys will literally dive into the dirt. They may be more aggressive but I don't have first hand experience with them.

 

On 8/29/2023 at 11:03 AM, MrHarrys said:

Aphyosemion bivittatum

Something similar that's really cool is chromaphyosemion volcanum:

image.png.df3af47fbce6f7cfc3f9bb2c52d26a18.png

On 8/29/2023 at 11:03 AM, MrHarrys said:

Aphyosemion striatum

I've heard this one is a great beginner killifish. It's on my short list of fish I want to get in the future. They have a 2-3 year lifespan which is nice as a beginner. I started with an annual killifish so it was hard to tell if it was sick because I was doing or if it was just it's time. The killi shack has pictures of them in a tank with shrimp but @Slick_Nick mentioned that his shrimp have disappeared. So your experience may vary. They are a bit shy so you'll want to make sure that they get food if the other fish are snapping it all up before they get a chance.

 

Edited by Schuyler
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Looking forward to how this project turns out! Scape looks great. Seeing that your LFS has a lot of variety let me suggest some more nano fish if you would like to go this route. 

1. Spotted blue eyes - looking at getting them myself. From what I’ve heard they are shy and tend to stay at the more upper part of the aquarium so you can have fish there too if you don’t get killifish. 

AC3FB7CE-894A-4C3E-A3A5-412908CB5DD6.webp.0cf4f649c61b9f72b655c17df7f742ba.webp

2. Bumblebee goby - quite rare fish at least where I am from. Pretty peaceful and shy. Not sure if a big group is needed.

5EBFADA2-CA49-4480-9690-B2F5A5D9DF6C.webp.f4c6fc39c64889c611e1320d8035344a.webp

3. Asian stone catfish - super underrated and rare fish in my opinion. Looks pretty prehistoric to me. It would love the rocks in your aquarium. 

CE79C795-A1D9-4402-944E-2BA78894F1F3.webp.e483c2dbd279755ff88d4d1a12a7572e.webp

 

Your last list is looking good to me, however I would have one in mind for the Betta. I tried adding a Betta to my nano community tank and it did not work out. Honey gourami would be the safest choice I think. Also maybe think of including some algae eater to your setup like an Ottocinclus or Borneo sucker. 

Edited by gdachev
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For the algae i have the 4 Cherry Shrimp.

Also regarding the plants: after all the plants are grown up and before i'll add the honey gourami or the betta i plan to add some in vitro Limnobium Laevigatum

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Posted (edited)

Did another total water change, and it seems that the tannins are all gone. I'll let it in for 2 or 3 days after which I'll do another change and after that I'll let the water in until 22 september, when the plants will arrive (i'll take all the water out before planting). 

 

At each water change I also added some bacterias and 3 tsp of baking soda. According to all youtube videos there should be a white fungus film on my driftwood. There's nothing like that on mine. But on the other hand, the only moments the light is on, are when i do the said water change.

I've also pimped my filter. As i said previously it's a Marina Jet 80 internal filter that comes with a sponge and activated carbon. So I've added ceramic rings over the carbon (the filters comes with a plastic grate that goes above the carbon sack) and above the rigns I've placed some Perlon Cotton.

image.jpeg.7886b9be7ab6d203213ea5b5e146d0ee.jpeg

Edited by MrHarrys
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