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Intro to my Aquarium(s)

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Hello everyone! I am new here, so I guess I'll tell you guys a little about my experience and my aquariums.

I started to get interest in the hobby around 3 years ago. Back then, I had not kept any fish tanks before, and my parents would not allow me to get one. Because of this, I found enjoyment on simply researching on fish and drawing out different aquarium layouts, setups, and stocking (if you want to see any of my sketches just ask and I'll try and post them. They are not too great or professional by any means, but I just find enjoyment sharing my ideas with others). Finally, after two years, my parents allowed me to get a fish tank. Originally, their plan was for me to get a 2.5 gallon tank we found at a garage sale for a betta fish. Thankfully, I convinced them to let me buy a 10 gallon tank instead.

PHASE I: THE BEGINNING: I started it up and filled the tank with black gravel and fake plants, then quickly stocked it with 2 Dwarf Gourami, 6 Neon Tetras, and 3 Peppered Corydoras. Unfortunately, I had no experience buying fish back then, did not cycle my aquarium for more than a day, and the PetSmart employee put them all in the same bag (I don't know if this did any harm to them though). I emptied the whole bag, water and all, into my aquarium. Due to my lack of experience, all the fish save a cory catfish and some tetras died in a matter of weeks. After this, I went about a little more cautious, adding in my fish much more slowly. Stocking for this phase: 2 Dwarf Gourami, 6 Neon Tetra, 3 Peppered Cory

PHASE II: "SOUTH AMERICAN" COMMUNITY TANK: I wanted to go with a South American theme, so I wanted cory catfish and tetras. I was planning on buying two more peppered corydoras to befriend the remaining one left in my tank, but I couldn't resist the lonely Julii cory at the PetSmart as well. So I eventually stocked my 10 gallon with 2 Peppered Corydoras, 1 Julii Corydoras, 3 Von Rio Flame Tetras, 3 Neon Tetras, and 1 Assassin Snail (for the pond/bladder snail problem that was arising in my aquarium). Despite not in ideal groups sizes, most of the fish did absolutely fine in this setup. This tank crashed when I tried to introduce a tiny baby bristlenose pleco from PetSmart. I didn't realize this little fish had (IchIchthyophthirius multifiliis), and it passed away within a few days. Before I knew it, the tetras were all infected with the disease. I tried getting rid of it using JUNGLE ICK CURE FIZZING TABLETS (or something like that sorry I forgot the exact name), but this only seemed to kill my fish off more quickly. The family favorite, the Julii cory, died one morning along with some tetras before one of my school days, and my mother and I were heartbroken. After this tragic disease, not one fish survived except for Turbo the Assassin Snail (my dad named him). Stocking for this phase: 2 Peppered Cory, 1 False Julii Cory, 3 Neon Tetra, 3 Von Rio Flame Tetra, 1 Assassin Snail

PHASE III: THE ENLIGHTENMENT/PLANTED BREEDING TANK: After waiting a while before starting up again, I decided to change my gravel color from black to the more natural mixed gravel color. By this point, I was fed up with PetSmart, and I had recently discovered my Local Fish Store (where I got my Assassin Snail) and decided to get live plants from them this time. I put in Cabomba as well as Hornwort, Water Wisteria, Guppy Grass, and Duckweed (unintentional). I stocked the tank with what I thought were guppies (they were really Endler's Livebearers, but my fish store didn't identify them correctly). I got three of them and what looked like a guppy/Endler hybrid or maybe a Scarlet Livebearer (Micropoecilia picta) male. Also, we have my favorites, Corydoras. I looked for them at my Local Store, but could only find a couple scattered throughout several tanks. So I brought those lonely Corydoras home (you'll see I have a habit of trying to "rescue" lonely fish, mostly Corydoras, from Pet Store tanks), puchasing one Peppered Cory female and two Albino Cory females (I thought they were males at the time, so I named them Merry and Pippin). As you can tell, my guppy/Endlers started to reproduce fast, and soon my tank was full of them (and pest snails, even though Assassin Snail Turbo was working as hard as he could to eat them). Afraid the baby guppies would take up too much room and dissolved oxygen, I sold them back to my LSF (local fish store, sorry if you already knew this) and bought more Assassin Snails, and a lonely peppered cory and green cory. Stocking for this phase: 2 Peppered Cory, 2 Albino Cory, 1 Green Cory, 3 Endler's Livebearer, Many Endler's Livebearer young, 1 Unknown Livebearer spec., 4 Assassin Snail, Many pest snails

PHASE IV: THE AGE OF TRUMPET SNAILS: At this point, I was kind of done with live plants, as they kept dying on me, so I put some more plastic plants in. Unfortunately, there was one baby Endler's livebearer that I didn't catch, and it turned out to be a female. So eventually it started producing more babies with the male I already had (I sold off all the adult females). It had one baby that turned out to be a male, and I sold off the female. My corydoras did very well still. None had any problems. It was the snails that were the real problems in this tank. Eventually, Malaysian Trumpet Snails (even though I tried to get rid of them) went from 2 individuals to way over 200 in a few months. My Assassin Snails could hardly keep up. Fortunately, my Assassin Snails had been laying eggs under the gravel, and soon the Assassin Snails had an army of their own. Over a period of a few months, the Trumpet Snails were pretty much gone. My what-looked-like-a-Scarlet Livebearer died of unknown causes right before the next "phase". Stocking for this phase: 2 Peppered Cory, 2 Albino Cory, 1 Green Cory, 3 Endler's Livebearer, 1 Unknown Livebearer spec., 4 Assassin Snail, many young Assassin Snail, many MTS.

PHASE V: THE NEW & IMPROVED COMMUNITY TANK: I finally was able to get a 29 gallon tank in my room as well, partly due to the fact that I had lost my guinea pig Daniel (he and I were very close) a year earlier. My dad helped me build a stand for the tank and I used pool filter sand as substrate. (QUICK TIP: when using pool filter sand as substrate, always rinse very well, as it clouded up my water very badly). After taking care of this, I let my tank cycle for a week or two before adding fish. In this setup I used plastic plants, my Java Fern (I planted a bit of a mysterious floating plant in my 10 gallon and it grew very big, even in my gravel), driftwood, and river rocks. For fish, I had all the fish and some of the snails from my previous tank. In addition, I purchased a Bristlenose Plecostomus and a school of 5 Pygmy Corydoras. Along with the pleco, a small true guppy fry had also accidentally added to the bag, so she made her home in my 29 gallon as well. Stocking for this phase: 2 Peppered Cory, 2 Albino Cory, 1 Green Cory, 5 Pygmy Cory, 2 Endler's Livebearer, 1 Guppy Fry, 1 Bristlenose Pleco, several Assassin Snail, 3 Amano Shrimp.

PHASE VI: FAKE PLANTS & BREEDING CORYDORAS: Before I knew it, my Peppered Corydoras began to breed (lucky me, there was one male and one female). I put their eggs in a small 0.5 gallon tank for them to hatch, but all the eggs got fungus. I was very disappointed, and was going to throw out the eggs/fungus mush when I saw one little baby peppered cory. I quickly put him into my 29 with the other fish. Desperate to succeed at a full batch, I made sure that I collected as many of the eggs as possible the next time they spawned. I made sure that the eggs were farther apart so that they wouldn't catch fungus as easily. Soon enough I had over 30 peppered cory babies. I put them in a breeding basket in the main tank. As time went on, they all grew, except some died of unknown causes. With them getting bigger (they were still very small though), I made the horrible decision to put them into the main tank. After a couple of weeks, I saw none save three babies. I don't know the cause of their deaths, but it is likely one of the following: 1) getting eaten - I don't know who could have because as you see in the stocking I have no predators in the tank, 2) starvation - maybe the competition for food was too high, or 3) disease/malformity - they could have had some kind of disease or deformity that I did not know about. While, if anyone has an idea on what happened to these poor babies, please leave it down below. I would really like to know if I could save the whole litter next time. Stocking: The stocking for this setup did not change at all from the previous setup, except for adding in the baby corydoras and I lost one Amano Shrimp.

PHASE VII: THE AGE OF ALGAE: Because of my lack of live plants and my high intensity light (I think it's high intensity, but I can't be sure I am terrible when it comes to choosing the right equipment), hair algae and black beard algae began to take over my tank. The Plecostomus took no interest in eating this type, so I purchased some Amano Shrimp and an Amazon Sword in hopes of combating the algae. This did not help much though, and the Amazon Sword was quickly overtaken. The Amano Shrimp had cleared their favorite log of hair algae, but didn't do much more, instead opting to eat the tastier shrimp pellets that I feed to the catfish. Stocking: The stocking for this setup did not change at all from the previous setup

PHASE VIII: THE NEW PLANTED COMMUNITY TANK: While this is the stage I am currently in. I added in plants from my LFS such as Cabomba, but also ordered a sponge filter, a dwarf hairgrass, vallisneria, and cryptocoryne wendetii to the tank. I also added in Siamese Algae Eaters and a Pearl Gourami to my tank. Right now, everyone is doing fine, and the guppy has hybridized with the male Endlers, so I am excited to see what the babies will look like when grown up. I think my tank is slightly if not very overstocked though, so I am thinking of removing all of the Endler/Guppy hybrids and adult female guppy to my stagnant 10 gallon when I get it started up. Even then, I think the bottom of my tank is still going to be very crowded with all the bottom dwellers and algae eaters. Anyway, I'll cover the issues on this current setup in posts later on.

Thanks for reading!






Albino Cory Resting #1.jpg



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Thank you for sharing your experiences with us! Some of those steps sounded very familiar to me lol. It's a journey for all of us. I haven't made it to any breeding intentional or otherwise yet, but who knows what the future holds. I also have been deliberately avoiding live bearers so I don't end up over run by fry.  I did that in one of my first tanks. Who know mollies could have THAT many babies.

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4 hours ago, Alison said:

Who know mollies could have THAT many babies.

That's part of the reason I've included at least one "predatory" fish in my communities that included livebearers. A pretty blue gourami will hunt down livebearer fry and help control the population. They won't eat all of them, if the tank is well-planted, but they at least prevent population explosions. Bettas are fabulous fry hunters, too.

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1 hour ago, Dawn T said:

That's part of the reason I've included at least one "predatory" fish in my communities that included livebearers. A pretty blue gourami will hunt down livebearer fry and help control the population. They won't eat all of them, if the tank is well-planted, but they at least prevent population explosions. Bettas are fabulous fry hunters, too.

I wish I had known all that when I was younger. Ahh well. Just means I can set up a new tank with live bearers and a gourami just to see how good at fry eating they are. All in the name of research.. right ? Lol

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