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Life with the fish at Bag End is going well! The tank stand has a few upgrades now.


I’ve got a brine shrimp hatchery set up that I’m loving! Vases from etsy and a reading light from Amazon.


And this bar from IKEA helps keep things organized. Before my tools would mostly be laying on the floor. 😅


Also—my aquarium lily from the coop has BLOOMED! It’s been blooming all week but it only opens in the morning. Today I was finally up early enough to see it and WOW!!!!!


The only problem in paradise is that I have WAY too many Malaysian trumpet snails in my 55 gallon. So many that they’re crawling up and eating the gourami eggs out of Dad Fish’s bubble nest. For some reason he doesn’t recognize them as a threat. So if I want to raise another batch of honey babies, I need to deal with this snail problem.

For those of you wondering, “Don’t you have two yo-yo loaches in that tank?” The answer is yes, I do. But they don’t seem to like eating these snails. Or at least they don’t like it enough to control the booming population.

I made a snail scraper out of the bottom of a buttermilk bottle and was able to catch several hundred snails the other night.


Not wanting any life to go to waste, I tried to feed the snails to my chickens. They’ve gotten a taste for ramshorn snails thanks to the outdoor ponds, so I was hopeful they’d take to these guys too.

Unfortunately they felt the same way the loaches do. Not interested. So I mixed in some millet cereal to try to trick them into eating the snails.


Chickens are not smart but they have excellent aim with their beaks. They successfully picked around most of the snails.


Feeling stubborn, I decided to try mixing the snails with oats and making snail oatmeal. The chickens LOVE oats.


(Note the chicken in the background—she’s lowest on the pecking order so she did not get any oats.)

This time more snails were accidentally eaten. But they still left quite a few.


I decided that at this point, I decided I should probably stop prolonging the snails’ suffering. I rinsed the rest into the compost pile. Not the best end, but I’m not sure getting eaten by a chicken is better.

Oh—before feeding all the snails to the chickens (or trying), I called the LFS where I trade in gouramis and asked if they wanted them. The answer was “no.” 😄 But I felt like it was worth a try. They did seem interested in the medaka though!

So my next project is going to be setting up a medaka breeding tank and selecting my broodstock from the ~90 I currently have. The rest will go to the LFS along with lots of hornwort, elodea, and salvinia.

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They’re working great!! I love that I can lift them off the wall and take them to the sink to rinse them. And I love that there’s nothing to screw/unscrew and clean. There aren’t any parts that can fail, either. As long as I don’t drop them they’ll keep working forever! The size is pretty small, but I can easily hatch a half scoop of brine shrimp eggs (a little less than 1 ml) in each. For now that’s plenty.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on the platy ponds: I still haven’t seen any fry in the blue platy pond. I’ve caught glimpses of at least three adult platys still alive and swimming in there, looking chunky enough to be pregnant, so at this point I suspect there’s a predator in the tub that’s slurping up the babies. Very possibly a dragonfly nymph, since the yard is full of dragonflies. Though I also wonder about a frog.

Today I found these in the ponds. Any ideas what they could be from?



Thankfully the orange platy pond is doing great! Lots of happy fry and plump parents.

I’ve also started up some infusoria cultures again. I’ve seen lots of medaka carrying eggs (and even one medaka trying to eat an egg that was stuck to his nose 😂) so I want to be ready once the breeding tank is up. I’d also like to start raising honey fry again.

This time I’m trying for more sustainable, less smelly, aesthetically pleasing infusoria cultures.


Yep, that’s a Longaburger basket. Our neighbors gave it to us. It seemed so perfect for infusoria! I lined the inner basket with foil to try to help bring the light inside the basket. I really hope it works! The plants love it—when the sun’s directly on them, they pearl so much I can hear them. 😮

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The eggs look like damselfy as you were worried. The other things could be larvae that hatched. My eyes are not so good. Here is an internet photo for you to compare. They got into my shrimp tank last year 😡

😍 I love Longaburger stuff!

Edited by Guppysnail
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On 8/11/2021 at 6:16 AM, Guppysnail said:

The eggs look like damselfy as you were worried. The other things could be larvae that hatched. My eyes are not so good. Here is an internet photo for you to compare. They got into my shrimp tank last year 😡

Ooof rats. I was hoping the adult platys would eat any evil larvae, but I guess not. Sorry about your shrimp!

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On 8/11/2021 at 12:01 PM, Hobbit said:

Ooof rats. I was hoping the adult platys would eat any evil larvae, but I guess not. Sorry about your shrimp!

Thanks. My shrimp colony is huge it survived just cut to about 100 or so.  My bladder snails took the hardest hit. I replaced the substrate I hated to eradicate them. Unfortunately they burrow into substrate and are FAST. making it hard for fish to get to them. 

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On 8/12/2021 at 12:29 AM, Hobbit said:

Ohhhh. Is this why so many people do bare bottom tubs?

I have never done tubs (I live that adventure through folks like you writing about your adventures 😁) so I don’t know. Remove your substrate and the fish will most likely devour the rest. I knew my snail population was declining and one evening I did a flashlight check….creepy eyes down in the substrate between the glass and gravel…😳 they actually look a bit like shrimp in the open at first but don’t move like them  

The adults will will also make a small slit in a submerged plant and deposit the eggs. They are beautiful creatures but miserable to aquarium/tubs. Manual removal is the only way to rid them. Anything that kills them fish/plants will pass much sooner from.
worse news the larva/nymphs can live up to 3 years in submerged form. Theymolt like shrimp and stick around until they have consumed enough food to emerge. If you eradicate them by manual removal I would suggest a  clear mesh covering to allow light for plants but small holes enough to keep female winged adults out. 
most eggs hatch in 10 days I don’t remember how long it takes for them to morph into nymph from larvae so qt all plants in clear tub and keep emptying until none remain. I really think just substrate removal will do the trick but it may be a bit before enough are consumed to allow fry to survive. They are crafty and hide in plants as well. 
Im so sad for your fish they are so beautiful. 😢 

Edited by Guppysnail
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On 8/12/2021 at 4:55 AM, Guppysnail said:

 I knew my snail population was declining

Well the good news is the snail population in both tanks is absolutely booming. Maybe that means I’m not in as dire straits as I feared?

I haven’t seen any signs of fry in the orange platy tub being eaten. Hopefully it stays that way… Regardless, I think I’ll let nature run its course and just plan to totally tear down the tubs in the fall once I move the platys inside. I will definitely have the camera ready when I dump the substrate!😃😳 This gives me good motivation to go ahead and get the indoor platy tank set up so it can start seasoning.

I’ve been working on setting up the breeding tank for my medaka broodstock. Today I called the LFS and confirmed he’ll take medaka from me, so next week I’ll take any non-broodstock adults up there and put the breeders in this five gallon.


Someone else on the forum with a glass bowl-like vase in her aquarium inspired this scape. I can’t remember who it was now though—if anyone remembers, please tag her!

There’s Fluval stratum in the bottom of each bowl. Which means my KH and pH are super super low even though I’ve added plenty of carbonate/bicarbonate. I’m not sure why I keep using that stuff. It weirds me out the way it laps up buffer. It would come in real handy if I ever really need a low pH tank, but this is not one of those times! Oh well. I don’t think it will hurt anything.

There’s also a layer of foam under the tank, which will hopefully keep the fish from getting lurched every time we walk by. When my husband’s tired he walks heavy, and the medaka flinch with each step. 😅

This is the first tank where I’m actively trying to keep it snail free. I’m having trouble with snails eating my gourami eggs, and considering medaka eggs take like two weeks to hatch and gourami eggs take maybe 48 hours, I really, really don’t want snails in here. The broadleaf plants I inspected thoroughly, by feel and sight, and then for the “egg mop” plants, I tried an alum dip for the first time.

This is what elodea and hornwort look like after two days in alum:


Note the mass of needles in the pitcher. 😅

I’m glad I did the dip because there were a lot of ramshorn egg sacs I would have missed.

I used pink glass beads to sink the stems onto the larger bowl.


My plan is to trim the new growth off the tops every two weeks and just drop the trimmings into fry boxes. I’m hoping the medaka will preferentially lay their eggs in the fluffy plants. I’m sure I’ll miss some eggs that get laid below what I trim, but that’s fine as long as I get a good supply of fry from the tops.

I have noticed an egg fungusing over in the 10 gallon the medaka are currently in. This makes me wonder whether I’ll need to get some shrimp to keep the eggs clean. 😇



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I don’t have pictures but ahhhh I saw fry in the blue platy pond!!! 😍🤩😍🤩😍🤩

Turns out they’re black. So it’s really really hard to see them. They looked pretty small, so maybe I really haven’t had any until now, and it’s just taken a while for the adults to grow up to breeding size.

I only spotted two, but I also spotted a VERY plump adult fish, so hopefully I’ll get another generation soon.


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Well, the medaka breeding tank is not cycling very quickly. I’ve never done a cycle without some kind of living creature (usually snails) to help speed things up. It’s super slow going! I keep siphoning mulm off of the filter in my 55 and squirting it in there. Thankfully I am seeing nitrites, so we’re making progress.


Unfortunately the fluffy plants haven’t recovered very well well after 2 days in alum. I also had to replace the tall broadleaf plant in the back—its predecessor melted. But the lily is growing new leaves, so that’s a good sign!


I’ve got ANOTHER lily flower out in the pond!!


I’m still seeing baby platys in the blue platy pond if I look closely. Anyone know the song “That’s just my baby daddy?” I have “That’s just my baby platy” stuck in my head all day. 😄

I also went ahead and repaired the brace on the 55 gallon I got off craigslist months ago. I’d been waiting for an evening that was cool enough to open the windows. I only knew how to do this because of this forum! I think it was @Brandy’s suggestion on someone else’s thread.


I used fiberglass cloth and JB Weld.


I taped the underside to hold everything together and keep the epoxy from dripping through.


Et voila! 


Just need to trim the loose fibers. Now I can leak-test it!

Tomorrow is a big day—I’m going to the LFS to drop off the medaka I don’t want to breed. I’m also going to bring them about a million stems of anacharis, as much salvinia minima as they’ll take, and a few sprigs of hornwort and water sprite. I’m going to try to get paid this time instead of trading. Wish me luck!!

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On 8/1/2021 at 5:59 PM, Hobbit said:

And this bar from IKEA helps keep things organized. Before my tools would mostly be laying on the floor. 😅

I loved this so much I bought a similar one. Thank you for the fantastic idea. It does keep things so much more organized! I love it. 

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@James Black I’ve heard of people doing that. Not sure why I didn’t think of it! Thanks! I’ll throw some old food in there now.

Today I prepped for my trip to the LFS tomorrow.

First it was time to put the plants in bunches. I had gathered a bunch of stems out of the tubs a week ago and look! The anacharis flowered!! 


I trimmed the stems to be about the same length and pulled the ends through a glass bead.





I used a rubber band to attach the bead to the water sprite. It was really fragile so I didn’t pull it up to get a picture.

Stems in a bucket! 3 water sprite, 4 hornwort, and 18 anacharis. 😄 I’ll stuff the tub with about four times that much salvinia tomorrow as well.


Next it was time to sort the medaka. I had been looking forward to picking out the best ones to keep for breeding. It sounded fun! I ordered supplies to make a divider so I could corral the fish to one side of the tank and make them easier to net out.


Unfortunately, sorting was not very fun. 😕 Now that I have a system down it might be more fun in the future, but mostly I was just sad to stress out the fish so much. They were sooo stressed! No fish likes to be netted, and no fish likes to be netted multiple times in a row. Also, no fish likes to be in a clear box in bright light with a human staring at them. 

It was also just hard to make decisions about which ones to keep. Because they were stressed, they went pale. I’m trying to keep the whitest fish with the bluest eyes, but that was hard to see when they’re in stress mode. I also got confused about what head shape they’re supposed to have. Medaka I see online have a very flat head, but many of mine have a little hump on their noggin. Maybe they have big brains?

Here’s the setup I settled on. I added a small aquarium light later, and that helped bring out the blue in their eyes. My cat was very curious about all the shenanigans.


All in all, I picked about 20 to keep and 60 to give away. Here are the fish ready to be bagged up tomorrow!



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