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Return to the Hobby


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Hello from northern Virginia!  I have recently returned to the hobby after over a 20 year absence.  I kept fish throughout the 90s after dreaming of keeping an entire aquatic ecosystem in an aquarium.  I never was able to realize that dream and stopped keeping fish when I left for school.  I looking into reef keeping in the 2000s, but did decided not to set up a reef due to the time investment needed.  After finding the Co-op's videos and other resources I became convinced that I could realize my original dream to have a complete ecosystem in an aquarium.  I returned to the hobby last October by purchasing an entire system from someone getting out of the hobby and have grown from there.  Since then I have had my first successes keeping aquatic plants and then breeding fish thanks to the Coop, LFSs, and many others.

I only have a couple of tanks setup in a combined kitchen and office.  This is the current setup in an L with a 65 gal tank on the top left, a 38 gal tank on the bottom right, and a 10 gal QT tank out of the picture.


The 65 gallon display tank setup March 2020:


I really enjoy the jungle tank look with microhabitats all over this tank.  It is almost dark under the dense cover despite running a Fluval 3.0 at 100% and Nicrew lights.

Fish: mainly breeding colony (B) Guppies, Tetras, breeding colony (B) Corys, and breeding Plecos

Plants: Marimo Moss Balls, Java Moss, Java Fern, Amazon Sword, Lilly or Green Tiger Lotus sp., Red Dwarf Aquarium Lilly, Jungle Vallisneria, Broad Leaf Sag, Crypt Red Wendtii, Elodea,  Golden Lloydiella, and Water Sprite


The 38 gallon display/children's tank setup October 2020:


This tank is setup at my knee height so that the children can feed the fish and look down on the tank without getting on a chair or ladder.  The goal is to recreate an approachable full ecosystem in this tank.

Fish:  breeding colony (A) Guppies, breeding colony (A) Paleatus Corys, and Pleco growouts

Plants:  Marimo Moss Balls, Java Moss, Java Fern, Jungle Vallisneria, Broad Leaf Sag, Crypt Red Wendtii, Elodea, Golden Lloydiella, Water Sprite, Scarlet Temple, and Green Myrio

Inverts:  Mystery Snails, Rabbit Snails, Bladder Snails, and Cherry Shrimp (test run)


I am convinced that this is an amazing time to be an aquarium hobbyist with all of the available information and one of the best times to keep live plants now that LED lights have high output and durability.  I look forward to continuing the journey - along with setting up another tank to lower the stocking levels these two 🤣.


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