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Raph
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Reply #140 on: January 13, 2014, 05:57:57 PM

Been trying to get red cherry shrimp established in the small tank. Failing. I suspect the water simply wasn't hard enough, so they were dying during molts. Just added five more, haven't seen them since I let them loose last night.  swamp poop

Also had 2/3 of my nerite snails crawl out and die. So now I have mesh across the open spots on the top.

Anyway, here's what has happened in the months since the pics I last posted.



Large tank:
80g



Plants:
Water sprite. The mother plants here are insane, like 2 feet long. I keep trimming away a pound of leaves every water change. The stalks are a good quarter of an inch thick. I have a little vase with like four footlong babies in a windowsill now.
Hygrophila compacta (front left)
Hygrophila angustifolia (willow hygro, tall grass stuff in the back)
Rotala - a little hard to see, but it's all over the tank.
Anubias -- also all over, including the suction cups stuck to the back glass
Hornwort, most visible on the left
Amazon sword, still small. The ones in the small tank are doing better, so i will probably swap them
Microsword -- the grass in the foreground
Giant crypt -- the big one in the center right, with the really long stalks and six inch leaves.

Fauna
1 ghost shrimp
4 clown loaches
3 corydoras julii
3 longfin danios
5 longfin rosy barbs
3 diamond tetras
1 african glass cat
10 otocinclus
Piles of malaysian trumpet snails that hitched a ride in and are very happy, but get eaten by the loaches

Small tank
16g



Plants
Two crypts (one regular, one wendtii) in the front
Some microswords you can't see
dwarf pennywort
Ludwigia
Amazon swords (2)
Ozelot sword, on the right
Rotala -- the spindly guys with the small leaves, center right
Anubias
Dwarf hairgrass
One stray willow hygro
Something I don't remember the name of -- on the left side, really tall

I just added a madagascar lace, destined for the big tank once it gets a bit bigger

Fauna:
5 ember tetras
4 neon tetras
5 glowlight tetras
3 panda corys
3 nerite snails
3 otocinclus
5 red cherry shrimp, in theory

Plant growth is with dosing but no c02 -- N, P, K, traces, and Excel. Just added iron to the regimen, and some stuff to boost hardness for the shrimp.
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Reply #141 on: January 13, 2014, 06:05:45 PM

Oh! Forgot to mention the other weird thing.

All the Java fern in both tanks up and died. Like, turned light brown and skeletonized, all at once. If they were touching any other plants, they burned a hole in whatever they were touching, but whatever it was wasn't catching.

Nobody at my local fish stores seems to have any idea what happened. The only thing I could correlate it to was a fungus or something that grew out of the driftwood in the small tank, which is why that isn't in there anymore.
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Reply #142 on: January 13, 2014, 06:22:31 PM

Oh! Forgot to mention the other weird thing.

All the Java fern in both tanks up and died. Like, turned light brown and skeletonized, all at once. If they were touching any other plants, they burned a hole in whatever they were touching, but whatever it was wasn't catching.

Nobody at my local fish stores seems to have any idea what happened. The only thing I could correlate it to was a fungus or something that grew out of the driftwood in the small tank, which is why that isn't in there anymore.

Something like this?

http://www.plantedtank.net/forums/showthread.php?t=161262

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Reply #143 on: January 13, 2014, 09:14:15 PM

Yea, but the version without the plantlets. No new leaves. I removed most of them from the tank and tried them in a bowl, and nothing, completely dead. Literally only one plant survived. And as you can see from the pics, I am very dubious about it being a nutriest deficiency...
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Reply #144 on: January 15, 2014, 06:26:51 AM

Oh! Forgot to mention the other weird thing.

All the Java fern in both tanks up and died. Like, turned light brown and skeletonized, all at once. If they were touching any other plants, they burned a hole in whatever they were touching, but whatever it was wasn't catching.

Nobody at my local fish stores seems to have any idea what happened. The only thing I could correlate it to was a fungus or something that grew out of the driftwood in the small tank, which is why that isn't in there anymore.

have you thought about temperature?  In my past experience temperature is critical for planted tanks.  In my experience nutrient deficiencies do not result in immediate death.  There are stages before death, for instance yellowing leaves.

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Reply #145 on: January 15, 2014, 06:37:58 PM

Both tanks are at a pretty steady 74 degrees... seems unlikely it wouldn't cause problems across more than one species though?
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Reply #146 on: January 17, 2014, 06:50:53 PM

I think really it depends not on species but where the plants originate from.  If all the plants were acclimated to one environment, and you suddenly gave them an incompatible environment because of temperature, then I would expect that they would die.  Its kind of like what happens to the German Blue Rams (and why people have so much trouble with them).  That being said I would think that 74 degrees should be pretty much ideal for most species.  I had die off any time the temperatures rose above 78.  It certainly is strange that there was no signs of stress in the plants.  Yellowing of leaves as I mentioned before is pretty common when you have iron deficiency.  I believe Amazon Sword sends runners like mad when the main plant is stressed for whatever reason.  Even lighting issues really shouldn't result in immediate death.   About the only thing I have ever encountered that resulted in immediate death of plants is someone putting them in salt water/brackish tanks.  From your stock list I am fairly certain you don't have that problem.

One other observation/suggestion.  As I was reading the past posts I saw that you had problems with Ich.  When I first began in the hobby, I learned very quickly that if you have a large tank, it really does pay to run a smaller "hospital" tank.  The antibiotics really do destroy the biological filtration.   Its both cheaper in my experience and easier to set up a 5 - 10 gallon aquarium as a hospital tank.  I would highly recommend that you set up a hospital tank if you are going to add more stock .  If I was still keeping characins, I would certainly run one in order to try to breed them.

I was curious Raph at one more thing you said.  I saw that you tried Melaflix.  Once or twice a year, I have problems with inter species aggression with the pundamilla nyerei  or the pseudotropheus demasoni and one invariably gets beaten down.  What was your experience with Melaflix?  I ask because I was not at all certain that it was doing anything to help the minor infection that resulted from the torn fins.  I would certainly be curious as to whether or not you saw results with the melaflix.


One more thing:  Man good luck on the madagascar lace.  That has to be one of the most amazing aquatic plants that I have ever encountered when its healthy and thriving.  Hard as can be to get it though and I am told even harder to get it to thrive.  Sounds like a really fun challenge and a potential centerpiece for an aquarium
« Last Edit: January 17, 2014, 06:59:25 PM by MournelitheCalix »

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Reply #147 on: January 18, 2014, 02:01:38 AM

I strongly doubt the java fern issue was acclimation; it had been in the large tank for literally years, and in the small tank since it was set up. It died off very suddenly just a few weeks ago, after months of doing fine. I wouldn't say it was thriving that whole time -- it's a mix of the windelof and the regular, and it was never very large, probably because the light is too high... it grew bushy instead. I have one of the trefoil kind and it was also wiped out, but it is growing back at a very nice clip now.

Some of the ones in the big tank went down to nothing but rhizome. I left them there, and now I see some green buds on it again... but it's taken two weeks.

The ich issues were a long time ago. The small planted tank was actually intended as the hospital tank for the big one, but it kind of got away from me. :) I haven't had any fauna issues in quite a while, except for my failure to keep shrimp alive.

Melafix is very very gentle. I would compare it to using aloe vera over real medicine, if you know what I mean. The oldest of my rosy barb males is getting up there -- he's ten -- and the two younger ones are clearly outcompeting him now. So he got nipped on the back, small little wound, start of a minor infection. Melafix dosed daily for a week and it closed up nicely without dosing stronger meds. But for anytihng worse, I have not had it give significant results.

On the Madagascar lace, the smallest leaf it had was brownish and maybe an inch long when I planted it. It is already three inches and green. It looks to me like maybe the way it grows is that new leaves are bigger than older ones? That would match the pattern for stuff like water sprite. Each new stalk on the water sprite is longer than the previous by maybe six inches. Luckily, if I trim, it seems to branch instead. If the lace stays on pace, I would expect it to need to move to the bigger tank within a few months. I have one amazon you can see in the small tank pic that is already 12in and probably needs to move very soon.

I do hear that bulbs like the lace need to be periodically removed from the water or something. Dunno when, guess I will wing it :)

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Reply #148 on: January 21, 2014, 10:50:43 PM

Really you raise aquatic plants and the animals are just to help them feel more in their natural environment, huh?

Hahahaha!  I'm really good at this!
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Reply #149 on: January 22, 2014, 01:40:03 PM

Those are beautiful tanks Raph.  Thanks for sharing.
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Reply #150 on: January 22, 2014, 03:04:25 PM

Funny thing is, I have a black thumb for terrestrial plants. :P
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Reply #151 on: January 22, 2014, 03:21:51 PM

Takashi Amano. That man is seriously an artist with aquarium plants. When I was living with the X, she showed me a few things of his in a couple fish magazines and I was blown away.

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Reply #152 on: January 23, 2014, 09:56:08 AM

I have a 30 (36x12x16) we're going to convert from shellies (moving to a 20) to a community tank and I'd like to plant it. If I stick with low light plants, can one get away with a single element fluorescent or should I be looking at an LED array or something else? It is near a window and oh boy does it grow algae well.

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Reply #153 on: January 23, 2014, 10:24:23 AM

I have a 30 (36x12x16) we're going to convert from shellies (moving to a 20) to a community tank and I'd like to plant it. If I stick with low light plants, can one get away with a single element fluorescent or should I be looking at an LED array or something else? It is near a window and oh boy does it grow algae well.

We had a tank in the front room that got a lot of day time light, though none direct. We only ever turned the light, a single aquarium grade fluorescent, on in the evenings and only for 2-3 hours to make sure the platys were still breeding and to check the loaches. The Java moss and ferns along with a few swords in the back of the tank had no issues and even kept the algae down to a minimum. No lights even helped a lot of the Platy fry survive - though the clumps of Java moss did most of that. I'd suggest dropping some plants in and leaving the light off and see what happens in the following 2-3 weeks. If all goes well, the plants should do well and the algae should actually be kept in check due to the higher competition consuming all the nutrients. Just my opinion based on what worked for my x's tank. YMMV.

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Reply #154 on: January 23, 2014, 01:36:27 PM

You can get low light LED arrays too, and they are a bit cheaper on the power bill. But I agree, if you stick to low light plants, the sunlight and a regular fixture should be just fine.

You might want to read about dirted tanks or "the Walstad method"... they use dirt for the substrate, and are meant to be left in the sun.
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Reply #155 on: January 24, 2014, 11:16:43 AM

I'm going to need to change the substrate anyway as the stuff in there now is to buffer the ph for the cichlids, but I hadn't considered actual dirt.

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Reply #156 on: January 25, 2014, 01:47:57 AM

Well, you have to be careful as to what kind of dirt. Organic, no funky stuff, etc. Google for it.

I have a small vase in the windowsill in which I am growing watersprite (not that I need more). It has an inch of potting soil, and watersprite, and nothing else. Plant is thriving.
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Reply #157 on: January 25, 2014, 11:45:23 AM

Those tanks are so pretty.  The fish, plants, stones, etc.  I would SO love to do this but I know my kitties will worry the tank constantly.  I don't want to have my fish traumatised by being constantly harassed by cats.  I did, however, download an awesome aquarium screensaver for my tv.  I can't take my eyes off of it.  This is your fault, Raph.  You need to come do my laundry.

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Reply #158 on: January 25, 2014, 01:37:37 PM

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Reply #159 on: January 28, 2014, 11:24:17 AM

Those tanks are so pretty.  The fish, plants, stones, etc.  I would SO love to do this but I know my kitties will worry the tank constantly.  I don't want to have my fish traumatised by being constantly harassed by cats.  I did, however, download an awesome aquarium screensaver for my tv.  I can't take my eyes off of it.  This is your fault, Raph.  You need to come do my laundry.

I thought my cats would have issues with our tanks but they just ignore them.

Also, best place for tanks is craigslist. I have made 3 huge scores on there.

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Reply #160 on: January 28, 2014, 12:31:16 PM

Those tanks are so pretty.  The fish, plants, stones, etc.  I would SO love to do this but I know my kitties will worry the tank constantly.  I don't want to have my fish traumatised by being constantly harassed by cats.  I did, however, download an awesome aquarium screensaver for my tv.  I can't take my eyes off of it.  This is your fault, Raph.  You need to come do my laundry.

I thought my cats would have issues with our tanks but they just ignore them.

Also, best place for tanks is craigslist. I have made 3 huge scores on there.

or fish auctions... Look into you local fish clubs and go to the auctions.

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Reply #161 on: January 28, 2014, 02:09:25 PM

Except my Magenta attacks the aquarium on my TV so she'll probably attack the real thing.  By attack I mean she puts her paws on the screen when they move.  Sometimes it's a bit frantic.  I'm assuming fish can be traumatised.  I don't see why not.  Some people even said that there are some kinds of fish that recognise you and even nibble your fingers and come when you tap the glass and look at you lovingly when you feed them.  Or is that a load of tired old bollocks?  Maybe I should buy one little gold fish and a tank and see what the kitties do.  I think the pup would be okay with it.  Are these questions crazy?  I don't think they are regardless of what ever the popular f13 consensus.

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Reply #162 on: January 28, 2014, 02:20:06 PM

Except my Magenta attacks the aquarium on my TV so she'll probably attack the real thing.  By attack I mean she puts her paws on the screen when they move.  Sometimes it's a bit frantic.  I'm assuming fish can be traumatised.  I don't see why not.  Some people even said that there are some kinds of fish that recognise you and even nibble your fingers and come when you tap the glass and look at you lovingly when you feed them.  Or is that a load of tired old bollocks?  Maybe I should buy one little gold fish and a tank and see what the kitties do.  I think the pup would be okay with it.  Are these questions crazy?  I don't think they are regardless of what ever the popular f13 consensus.

Had 4 cats in my X's place along with her tanks. My cats were new to the aquariums and took a little interest in the fish early on, but once they tapped the glass a few times, they figured out it was pointless. Just have to be very sure you have good lids on the tanks. Better still if you can get an enclosed hood.

And yes, some fish will get very animated when you are around because they learned when you are around, they get fed. Best ones for this have been the Oscars we had (Just make sure you have a tank for them... they get huge - 120g would be recommended). They would even allow you to 'pet' them which again was a learned response. They are still fish so it is all reactionary and stimulus-response stuff, but... they can distinguish between different types of people. Bettas will also react to humans as well for the same reasons.

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Reply #163 on: January 29, 2014, 07:59:11 PM

Clown loaches, same thing. There are definitely fish that come to recognize you and allow petting.

Dogs/cats vs aquariums is definitely very animal-dependent.

Moved the sword plant from the small to the big tank today... it's over a foot tall.

Lace plant is at six inch leaves. I can see it will end up moving over too.

Shrimp seem to have stuck this time, so added more to try to get the breeding going.

Will post more pics for Signe once the sediment in the water settles. :)
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Reply #164 on: January 29, 2014, 09:00:51 PM

And yes, some fish will get very animated when you are around because they learned when you are around, they get fed. Best ones for this have been the Oscars we had (Just make sure you have a tank for them... they get huge - 120g would be recommended). They would even allow you to 'pet' them which again was a learned response. They are still fish so it is all reactionary and stimulus-response stuff, but... they can distinguish between different types of people. Bettas will also react to humans as well for the same reasons.

Back when I had guppies they did the same thing, coming out of hiding spots and "begging" at the surface when they saw me come near.

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Reply #165 on: January 29, 2014, 10:55:33 PM

Really you raise aquatic plants and the animals are just to help them feel more in their natural environment, huh?

This isnt as outlandish as it sounds as the fish wastes is what fuels the nitrogen cycle and that in turn provides the nutrients that the plants need to grow.

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Reply #166 on: January 29, 2014, 11:06:02 PM


or fish auctions... Look into you local fish clubs and go to the auctions.

You also never know what you will find.  A few years ago a guy showed up with some blue rock kribensis in an auction in Cinncinatti.  That may not mean anything to most but that fish isn't believed to be in the hobby anymore, extinct in the wild,  and the only known specimens were in the collection of Shedds aquarium's CARES program.

Aqua bid is also a place that you should keep an eye on for rare fish.  In the last four years a couple of really rare tilapia species from Victoria has also shown up.  Personally I am looking for Enterochromis cf. paropuis
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 11:09:24 PM by MournelitheCalix »

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Reply #167 on: January 30, 2014, 09:49:46 AM

They're like beautiful little alien worlds.  It's hard to stop looking.  I feel much the same way about terrariums except they would be better with tiny animals in them. 

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Reply #168 on: January 30, 2014, 07:50:16 PM

OK, here's the pics for Signe. Last pics were just about exactly two weeks ago. I think I may have a plant problem. You can do a direct comparison to the previous pic. Everything is maybe growing too much! :) The real issue is I have a lot of plants in the small tank that are destined to grow large. I will end up needing to swamp big ones and small ones around.

All pics spoilered for size, but shrinking them more made them way less cool. :)

Big tank overview:
I whacked the watersprite (lacy stuff at the sides) way back. A clump of it is also floating on the right side, it got uprooted last night. You can see the Amazon sword from the other tank is now a foot tall and in the middle.

A smaller sword has been moved to the front there. Hoping it takes off some from the light exposure.

Small tank overview:

As you can see on the left, the wisteria went nuts and it touching the water surface. There is now that darker hygro where the sword was in the center left. I also added some luwigia along the back, to give the shrimp more hiding spots. Their favorite spot, though, is under the lace plant. You can see the lace already poking up on the center right. It was only an inch tall two weeks ago.

Here's a better pic of the lace specifically. This plant is weird because it ONLY has veins. Yes, those leaves are full of holes, naturally.


And just for Signe, here's the tiny animals. :) Some of them, anyway. This small tank has a lot of fish, believe it or not.

There are 3 bottom feeders -- you can see one of them on the right. That's a panda cory, so called because, well, they look like pandas.  Sad Panda

You can see two neons near the top. There's four of them. Not in the pic, five glowlight tetras (mostly transparent, with reddsh neon) and five ember tetras (half size bright orange guys). You can probably make some of those out in the overview pic.

There are also three otocinclus, little sucker catfish.

You can see one of the three snails. These are called nerite snails. They have pretty zebra stripes on them.

Lastly, there are at least eight red cherry shrimp in there. In this pic you can see one of the girls right in the center -- they are bigger and brighter colored. Even bright red, in this tank they are very hard to find.

Yes, I know, there's brush algae on the anubias plant there in the front... legacy from when I had a problem. It isn't spreading, and I was waiting until the plant threw off a few more new leaves before I trimmed and bleach-dipped it.


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Reply #169 on: January 30, 2014, 08:59:48 PM

Is that lace rock I saw?  Also are you using a UV Sterilizer by any chance?

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Reply #170 on: January 30, 2014, 09:35:47 PM

Yes, I do use UV sterilizers in both tanks.

Do you mean the rock in the small tank? It's just some stuff from the LFS, nothing fancy.
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Reply #171 on: January 31, 2014, 09:05:40 AM

Thanks!  Those are beautiful.  And in the second picture the little bubbles at the top look like stars.  I think I like that one the most.  The last pic... it's coming right at me!! 

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Reply #172 on: February 05, 2014, 01:04:52 AM

So we're moving at the end of March. I have a 29 gallon tank to move. Does anyone have any good tips? This tank has a peat moss/sand/stone substrate, and I'd really rather not destroy it all to move the tank.

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Reply #173 on: February 05, 2014, 01:15:45 AM

Remove 5 gal to a bucket or cooler.

Remove fish to the bucket or cooler.

Insert battery powered air pump.

Move over some of the filter media and drop them either in the bucket or at the bottom of the tank. Sponges, whatever. If you use HOB filters, try to avoid pouring them out, so that the mulm remains in them. Basically, you are trying to keep the bacteria colonies alive. So keep them wet.

Remove all but 1 inch of water. If you can save it, or some of it, great. Make sure the substrate remains wet, basically. You can probably leave everything planted.

Transport tank carefully. Water will slosh but will likely not splash out. 1 inch is not heavy enough to break the bottom, generally. Not with a 29 gal, I bet. But be sure to carry it carefully, and if you can, put a plank under it or something when you lift it. It will take two people.

Set back up. Since you are effectively doing a MASSIVE water change, suggest adding in some of the ready-made bacteria you can buy. Get it all set up, and run it all for a day or two with the fish still in the cooler or bucket. They will be fine, unless temp changes a lot or something. See if you get a bacteria bloom, check that you don't get an ammonia spike, that sort of thing. AmQuel or NovAqua or Seachem Prime will help. Prime is easiest on the plant nutrients, if you have the choice.

Experience: moved the population of a 20 gal tank 1500mi in a car. Lost one fish -- he swam into a tube and got stuck and the others fin-nipped him. And have moved an 80 gal tank a few miles. No losses that time. We still have rosy barbs and cory cats from that 1500mi move. It was ten years ago.
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Reply #174 on: February 05, 2014, 03:19:07 PM

We moved our 55 gallon from Massachusetts to Maryland pretty much as you said, though we used large bags and those oxygen tablet things. I cringed every bump the U-Haul went over, but the tank and everyone survived. The real pain in the posterior was arriving at 3am after a 12 hour drive and needing to set the thing up right away, somewhat ameliorated by our new housemate babbling quotes about fish free associated from primarily Shakespeare and the Bible.

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