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Guppy Tank Build Journal

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I’ve been grateful to everyone whose given me feedback over the last couple weeks on my proposed build. Thank you all so much. 

I am building a tank for my oldest boy. He’s seen me trading in Endlers at the fish store and did a market analysis leading to his decision to keep guppies. He’s 6 by the way.

The tank is a 20 gallon high, coop sponge filter, Aquaneat light, eheim heater. Substrate is laterite and garden soil with some osmocote  not too much capped with mix of playsand and gravel. I’m thinking of going to my LFS and getting some fluorite black sand so your thoughts are appreciated. Used a seasoned filter, took a sponge from my flex 15 and dumped it in there, and put in some Fritz 7. 
Our current occupants are some rams horns. 

I used some bags of lava rock on the back to help with elevation and doubled up on the right. I wanted there to be a hill as I think my son will want to put in a decoration at some point and so I left him space to customize it. 

The plants arrive tomorrow bought from a Facebook group - $50 for Aponogeton Madagascar lace x 1 plant, Cabomba x 5 stems, Pogostemon octopus x 5 stems, Crypt Spiralis x 2 plants, Red flames swords x 1 plant, Java fern x 2 rhizomes, Rotala Orange juice x 10 stems, Taiwan lily x 2 plants, Hygrophila cherry leafs x 4 stems, Ammania Manritiana x 3 stems, Hygrophila Pinnatifida x 1 clump, Rotala coin leafs x 10 stems. I think some of these may not end up in this tank but I’ll see how it goes with planting. 

Right now I’m debating how soon to get the guppies. I’m thinking next week. I’ll be doing water changes every other day or 3rd day. I’ll monitor my parameters and post after planting. 

Our final stocking over the next 2 -3 months will be 2 pairs of guppies- trios preferred but he’s chosen platinum galaxy tigers and well they are spends but only place I’ve found them is selling pairs. 10 ember tetras. 12 cory pygmaeus. 16 red rili Neocaridina. And the rams horns can’t forget them. I think it will be ember tetras first - I have them on hand and will just wait until parameters are right. Then I’ll order the guppies. Then I’ll wait a couple weeks and then it’ll be the corys. In 3 months I’ll grab the neos. No rush I want the tank well seasoned. 

if you’ve gotten this far thanks for reading and here’s some pics. 






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So I’ve been working long shifts so haven’t had time to update the tank build but I’ve made a ton of progress. 

Plants came in healthy with great roots and typical needs for pruning. I noted that I didn’t have enough substrate to get good grab on the roots and plants as they were being dislodged by the mystery snails so I grabbed a bag of fluorite black sand. The inevitable black out that occurred was fun necessitated use of a sponge and power head to clear it up. Planting was much easier and I like the effect of the black gravel. Now I’m just waiting to hear on the guppies I bought from redfishbluefish. 

Our hardscape is local volcanic rock, obsidian and manzanita. I collected it with my son last summer so it’s meaningful for the two of us. “That’s my rock Dad.” Warm fuzzies. That was when he hit me up for decorations and we hit the LFS which had a poor selection so hit a big box store and he picked out a Sponge Bob Village as his theme so we placed them on the little hill and forest we made. 

Im going to check parameters in the next day, do a 50% water change, dose some ferts and root tabs and see how things are going with cycling the tank. Hopefully all the media and hardscape I used from other tanks and the Fritz 7 I’ll be well in my way. Current inhabitants are two mystery snails and 4 rams horns. His brother donated the mystery snails from his tank which was sweet. 

Thanks for reading and here’s the pic updates.







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  • 4 weeks later...

Well my sons tank is really coming along. Since my last post I pulled the power head as it was just too much flow. I replaced it with this little pump that came with an aquaponics setup and used a prefilter sponge. So this plus the aquarium coop sponge in the other corner I have no dead spots and good circulation. 

sometime in that process I lost one of his guppy males. Literally disappeared. No body was recovered. Luckily my son did not catch on. Shortly after that I added the ember tetras from my display tank which are great 10 of them exploring a well Planted tank is such a joy. 

plants - everything is growing really well but the  hygrophila I got certainly took the biggest hit of any of the plants. Seeing new growth but it’s just bare stem from the top down. Anyone have thoughts about next steps with the hygro? 

I presently have 15 dwarf cories in quarantine to be added in next 3-4 weeks. 








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  • 1 month later...

Well my sons guppy tank continues to bring us both a lot of joy. He’s gotten the fry he wanted and the aquascape has matured really well. 

we had a pair of honey gouramis that were struggling in another tank behavior wise so my son asked for them to be rehomed in his tank. The change of scenery has helped and they are happy and coloring back up. 

the real breath of fresh air in this tank is the dwarf corys. What an amazing little fish. We managed to get 12 of the 15 I had in quarantine- 3 ended up in a friends tank when they hitched a ride with her cardinals I was qting. 

I think stocking is done. I’m doing some trimming and 50% water changes weekly. The moss is really coming in best growth I’ve ever had in a tank. I put a hob opposite the sponge so that if we needed chemical filtration it would be easy to do plus it’s always nice to have an extra seasoned filter on hand. 











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