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Well, I think it’s time I started a general thread where I can post updates about all my tanks.

If you like low maintenance planted community tanks, fish breeding projects, watching a novice set up outdoor ponds, and the occasional cat/chicken, then I think you’ll find something you enjoy here. 😊

Here’s the status right now:

This is my main tank. It’s a 55 gallon with a power head and three cheap submersible lights. I’ve had it running around 15 months. Substrate is soil with a gravel cap, which I do not recommend. 😆

Fish:
My honey gourami mating pair, Mom Fish and Dad Fish
Two yo-yo loaches
Two otos
Two super red bristlenose plecos
A school of 9 tetras (one neon and the rest cardinals) called the School of Dr. Neidecker after my mom who bought them for me
Three amano shrimp
Oh and a few snails that the yo-yos haven’t eaten yet.

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This is my 10 gallon grow-out tank. It’s usually for the baby honeys, but right now it’s quarantining a new honey! I’m hoping this is a female so she can be Dad Fish’s next mate. It seems like Mom Fish is slowing down. Adding the new honey to the community tank will be iiiiiinteresting. 😁

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And these are the new outdoor ponds! I just filled them up a few days ago. I’m excited to experiment with them! I’ve never done outdoor ponds before.

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@Lifeisgood they loved the gouramis! They asked me on the sly if I was selling them anywhere else and I think they were happy when I said no. I’m following Cory’s advice and “marrying” myself to one store. Not that there’s another store near me anyway. 😅

I’m not sure what fish I’m going to put in the ponds yet. I know I want to breed orange cherry shrimp, and I’m thinking either white clouds or platys fish-wise. I’ll probably go with platys because I want to start breeding them indoors anyway, so I’ll have somewhere to keep a few when the summer’s over.

(And yes Tolkien is great! A literary treasure. 😊)

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Posted (edited)

Well, there’s drama already. The new honey gourami passed away this morning. It had been acting really odd the last few days. It went from frantic glass surfing to hardly swimming at all, just floating at the top of the water among the salvinia, its feelers spread, taking a gulp of air every few seconds. I have a sponge filter in the 10 gallon so I can’t imagine the oxygen was low. I never did convince it to eat pellets, but the second day it ate frozen baby brine. Yesterday it didn’t even eat that. It was like it didn’t even see them.

I thought it might be depressed since it had come from a tank with lots of other tank mates. At one point it was chasing and poking the amano shrimp—it seemed pretty desperate. I brought over one of my giant tetras from the 55, but the honey never seemed to see her or be interested in saying hi.

No external sign of disease, so I thought another possibility was maybe it had internal parasites. Last night I did the first dose of paracleanse. I probably should have started that sooner.

It’s weird, because at the LFS it was in a tank with REALLY high flow, so it and its tank mates were swimming really hard against the current. It couldn’t have been too unhealthy then.

I called the place where I got it just to see if they had seen any issues, and of course they hadn’t. They’d already sold all the other honeys and no one else had called in with problems. They offered me a store credit, but I explained I was two states away, so don’t worry about it. 😅

I’m bummed, but I’m more confused. I like to know the “why” of things. Near the end it almost seemed like the fish was blind, the way it was swimming with its feelers outstretched all the time. But we don’t always get to know the why, do we? 😝 Now the poor tetra gets to hang out in that tank for two weeks while I wait and see if she caught whatever the honey had!

In happier news, I got a co-op order today and I’m really excited to have the test strips! And the stingray sticker, even though Cory doesn’t like stingrays. 😁

 

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Edited by Hobbit
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7 hours ago, Hobbit said:

@Lifeisgood they loved the gouramis! They asked me on the sly if I was selling them anywhere else and I think they were happy when I said no. I’m following Cory’s advice and “marrying” myself to one store. Not that there’s another store near me anyway. 😅

I’m not sure what fish I’m going to put in the ponds yet. I know I want to breed orange cherry shrimp, and I’m thinking either white clouds or platys fish-wise. I’ll probably go with platys because I want to start breeding them indoors anyway, so I’ll have somewhere to keep a few when the summer’s over.

(And yes Tolkien is great! A literary treasure. 😊)

Absolutely on all counts!  It will be fun to keep track of what you are doing.  I have too many house remodeling plans to do much in the way of outdoor ponds this year.  But I will enjoy yours and others vicariously.😁

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On 4/9/2021 at 9:01 PM, Lifeisgood said:

How different is the LFS water from yours?

Oops, just saw this! Not sure why I missed the notification. I’m not sure, unfortunately. I did acclimate it slowly to my water (but not too slowly because it had been in the bag for a long time by the time we got home). The water in that tank is pretty middle of the road—pH 7, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate ~7, GH 75, KH 40. I’m working on increasing the buffer just a tad because I have amano shrimp in there. But I didn’t ask about the store water so not sure how it compares.

On 4/9/2021 at 8:57 PM, Lifeisgood said:

 I have too many house remodeling plans to do much in the way of outdoor ponds this year.

I’ve actually been doing a number of home improvement projects too! We just tore up the carpet and linoleum in the kitchen+sun room and replaced it with click-and-lock vinyl. My dad and in-laws both came out at different points to help. When my husband gave me the green light to put more fish tanks in our dining area, I realized we better replace the floors NOW because I did not want to have to move a bunch of tanks later!! What projects are you up to?

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In tank news, I’ve pulled another batch of babies! At one point I counted at least 25 in there. Then late one night I decided to pull even more because I want to keep some for my next generation breeding pair, and I’ll need to keep a handful to make sure I get the gender I want. (I think I want to keep a female, since males seem easier to find.) So now who knows how many are in there!!

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I also ordered a vinegar eel starter culture on @Fish Folk’s recommendation. I had been hesitant because I thought they were the same thing as micro worms, which crawl up the sides of their container in really gross patterns, but these just wriggle in the water, which is totally fine with me! They should help me feed this huge batch of babies. I have a feeling infusoria alone won’t cut it with this many!

The tetra in the 10 gallon still looks fine! I finished the dose of paracleanse just in case. Just hang in there for one more week, girl!

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7 hours ago, Hobbit said:

Oops, just saw this! Not sure why I missed the notification. I’m not sure, unfortunately. I did acclimate it slowly to my water (but not too slowly because it had been in the bag for a long time by the time we got home). The water in that tank is pretty middle of the road—pH 7, ammonia/nitrite 0, nitrate ~7, GH 75, KH 40. I’m working on increasing the buffer just a tad because I have amano shrimp in there. But I didn’t ask about the store water so not sure how it compares.

I’ve actually been doing a number of home improvement projects too! We just tore up the carpet and linoleum in the kitchen+sun room and replaced it with click-and-lock vinyl. My dad and in-laws both came out at different points to help. When my husband gave me the green light to put more fish tanks in our dining area, I realized we better replace the floors NOW because I did not want to have to move a bunch of tanks later!! What projects are you up to?

Finishing touches on the inside, but now I have to start scraping and painting the outside..yikes!  We completely redid the inside of a two story built in 1911.  We ripped out three layers of carpet in some rooms.  This is the last house that I want to do this kind of work on!😅

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2 hours ago, Hobbit said:

WOW three layers of carpet... I can only imagine the accumulated dust. 😝 Totally renovating a house that old sounds exhausting! I’m sure it will be rewarding when you’re done though.

Yes, the house is totally transformed on the inside.  The house was almost a foreclosure.  We hope to sell when we are done remodeling and the kids launch.  Hoping to buy the next house mortgage free when we sell this one so we can retire.  Just want a place where we can see wildlife and have our land and water pets.😁

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Posted (edited)

Welp, I’ve lost almost all the babies. 😛 I think the problem was that I was trying so hard to feed them enough infusoria, I overdid it and fouled the water. The infusoria also don’t seem to be as high quality as my previous tries. I’m not sure why. This time I tried to speed up the culture by putting it under a light, where last time I just let it age near a window for a week. Maybe that changed things, or maybe it was just bad luck. The ways of microorganisms are mysterious.

I think there are 5 babies left at this point. And of course I had just taken down the plants around Dad Fish’s nest so he’d snap out of breeding mode and get some rest for a bit, so those are all the babies I’m going to get!

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I did get the vinegar eel starter culture off eBay though! So hopefully in about a week I’ll have a cleaner, more consistent and reliable food source. I also got to gross out my husband in yet another way, which is always fun. 😁

Edited by Hobbit
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Posted (edited)

Today was a tub work day!

I’ve had some gravel from the yard in a little tub for almost a week, waiting to see if it would change the water parameters compared to a control. They used some kind of chunky, angular gray stone around our back steps that I thought would be perfect shelter for baby fish and shrimp if it was piled up in a tub.

I discovered that the gravel did indeed change the parameters. After 5 days, the water with gravel was KH 6 compared to 3, with a GH of 5 compared to 4. The pH had gone up to 7.4 compared to 6.8 in the control.

However after thinking about it, I decided that this was actually a good thing. I have really really soft water and I’m constantly adding crushed oyster shell and powdered calcium carbonate to try to raise my parameters. Why not let the rocks help me out? Plus I’m hoping to raise platies and shrimp.

So I decided to use the rocks. I figure if the KH/GH/pH gets too high, I can do a water change or add a bunch of dead leaves. I did a vinegar test on the rocks and they didn’t fizzle all—I even broke out the magnifying lens to check for tiny bubbles—so they aren’t super-duper reactive at least.

I drained the water out of each tub, trying to catch and save as many ramshorn snails as I could along with the dead leaves they’d been eating. I added one large stone to each tub.

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I rigged this setup for my air pump using an old dishwasher pod container and a half broken pot. The power cord runs into the shed, but I wanted the pump itself to be outside the shed for air quality.

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I added some sandy soil from the spot in the yard that used to be a sand pit, and scattered my extra black imagitarium gravel over it. Not really to act as a cap—just to use it up.

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Next came the rock piles. The light colored rocks are also from the yard, but they’re native to the land around here and after a bit of geological research, I decided they were most likely sandstone. (Just to be a little safer, I did a vinegar test on them and they didn’t fizz.) I also set up my new shiny Aquarium Co-op sponge filters!

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Next I put two ceramic pots over the filters. The pots were inspired by @Streetwise, who kindly reminds everyone to put escape routes in their tubs for small critters. I also figured the pots would be great shelter for the fish—plus I thought it would be fun to have bubbles coming out the top. 😊 The large stone in each tub keeps the pots tilted sideways enough that the fish will be able to get under the rim.

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I got the tubs mostly full and realized one of my pots is too tall. I think when I fill the tub all the way, the pot will be submerged enough that the bubbles from the filter break the water surface. If not, I’ll have to find a smaller pot. These were the only two I had laying around, but I’m sure I can scrounge one up somewhere.

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Hopefully the water clears fairly quickly!

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Oh and each tub has a dwarf lily bulb. Hopefully the lilies are happy and will sprout soon.

Edited by Hobbit
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The test tetra that I stuck in quarantine is now back in the 55! She seems happy to be with her buds.

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Dad Fish has been sleeping on the aquarium floor, which is freaking me out. But every time I get the camera out he perks up and starts swimming. Hopefully he’s just tired and not sick. Being an awesome dad has got to be exhausting!

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I think I’ve lost all but one of the babies in the fry box. 🤦🏼‍♀️ The last five were doing great, but I believe they slipped through the mesh I have over the outflow when the water level got too high. Alas.

The good news is the vinegar eel culture I now have is thriving! So I should have a better variety of food for the next batch.

One thing I realized I did differently with my fry box this time is I never added a nanny snail. I thought maybe the algae buildup would help feed the fry a bit, plus the snail poop is less than pretty. But instead I think the algae ended up trapping some when they swam near the bottom. I wonder if the buildup of uneaten bacteria from the infusoria also contributed to the poor water conditions.

A few days ago I added two nanny snails and they’ve made quick work of the algae.

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Lesson learned. Always add a nanny snail!

Meanwhile, out in the garden, the chickens are helping me sift compost.

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Well, it appears my last baby fish escaped the fry box. Which is probably for the better, because Dad Fish has a new pile of eggs! And the tetras are circling like sharks.

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This tetra seems to have been particularly successful at nabbing stray eggs:

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That little tetra had a lot of stringy poop at dinner time. 😅

I also tested my ponds and discovered that despite me using “bad” rocks and lots of unrinsed crushed oyster shell, the KH and pH are still super low. So in went more oyster shell. And more Easy Green, because there’s hardly any nitrogen! How am I supposed to get green water without nitrogen??

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I do have plenty of chicken poop... how terrible would it be if I threw a clod in there? 😝 It would be a lot cheaper than easy green!

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14 hours ago, Hobbit said:

I do have plenty of chicken poop... how terrible would it be if I threw a clod in there? 😝 It would be a lot cheaper than easy green!

Not sure if you are seriously considering this? If it were me, I would probably avoid using chicken manure, unless, you compost it first, preferably via hot composting (big compost pile that generates high temperatures). There are lots of undesirable bacteria and fungi in uncomposted poop you probably do not want to bring into your tank. 😎

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Posted (edited)
52 minutes ago, Anita said:

Not sure if you are seriously considering this?

Sometimes I have crazy ideas and need some sane friends to remind me why people don’t do these things. 😅 I knew it was probably a bad idea but I couldn’t quite figure out why. So thank you. 😆

Edited by Hobbit
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3 minutes ago, Hobbit said:

Sometimes I have crazy ideas and need some sane friends to remind me why people don’t do these things. 😅 I knew it was probably a bad idea but I couldn’t quite figure out why. So thank you. 😆

Sometimes, crazy ideas are the start of innovation. Other times, they may need a bit of tweaking. And sometimes, yes, they are bad ideas. 

I would say this is one of those ideas that needs more marinating. 🧐

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Okay so I didn’t add chicken poop but I did add Osmocote. 😁

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We have a maple tree. Can you tell?

I also got something exciting in the mail... automatic fry sorters!!!

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You can see the 55 gallon in the background with foam on top—I’m planning to make two matter filters in that tank and use them as dividers between two sets of breeding platys on the edges and a fry field in the middle. I’m super excited for this project! I’ve never done livebearers before.

And it turns out the last fry did NOT escape the fry box, so now I have to see if I can just let it hang out with its little siblings as I try to raise the next batch. It’s not big enough to eat young fry, but it may outcompete them for all the food. We’ll see.

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The osmocote is definitely getting me some nitrates!

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The bad news is I’ve determined that the tubs are leaching chlorine. The chlorine went up without me adding any water (and I’m on a well). I called Home Depot and got some more info on the tubs, and it does seem like they’ve had some kind of chlorine-containing solvent used on them at some point.

I guess I’ll have to try to keep on top of dechlorinating all summer. I’m sooo thankful for the Coop’s test strips—I would have never found this chlorine problem without them!

I also walked by the tank last night and saw this!

I’ve NEVER seen this many before. Something made their population explode. Maybe the excess of dead/dying sword plant leaves? I should probably get in there and do some maintenance.

I have so many plants now that it’s becoming really hard to give them enough nitrogen. 1.5 doses of easy green twice a week isn’t cutting it.

I could add more easy green... or I could add more fish! 😃😃😃 Any suggestions?

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