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Eric A

Eric's Aquarium Redo

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Hey all.

After the big photobucket failure, I figured I may as well start a new thread to share photos using Flickr instead. I also opted to make a new thread because, well the tank never got up to full speed as we had a bit of a family tragedy and had to move house, so the tank got torn down, filters dried out etc, wasn't fit for fish at that stage. Anyway, the tanks set up in the new place and has been tentatively cycling since. I want to share with you guys what I'm doing with it, so this thread will be where I do it. Let's begin. 

This is about as far as I got previously. Scored myself an awesome bit of wood and was trying to decide how I was going to go about planting around it. The piece is quite big, probably a good 250mm cube, so in a 600x300x300 tank it was quite overwhelming, even though it looked so good! So with the 'new' scape I decided to pass on it. I have kept it though, I want to do a cube tank around the piece later on, maybe when this tanks stocking has grown some.

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This is how it sits now. Same substrate and electrics but everything else has changed. This is thanks to a few visits to techies (The Tech Den), of which there will be a good few more. I bought a piece of mangrove root, and a single piece of Seiryu Stone. The stone was an impulse buy, I didn't have a plan for the tank at that stage and thought the Seiryu looked real sweet so I had to get it. When I got home I was surprised by how much presence the rock had, but made it work. I only bought the left root and stone at first and that really wasn't enough so the pieces on the right and the small one in the middle of the left piece are additions. The rock doesn't stick out so much now. It will be very handy though, I have a feeling it's going to make an ideal spawning area for some of the crew that'll call this place home.

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This is the total haul I took from techies today. I had been using some real old test kits from my pet store days (7-8 years ago) and thought it was time to upgrade. I bought some Sera test kits for ammonia, nitrate nitrite and pH. I also got some more purigen as my old one had turned black. I know I can recharge it by using bleach but I haven't come across any pure bleach yet, not that i'm looking too hard I'll admit. I'll find some eventually, maybe in a store other than Coles. I bought a bag for it too, without realising that purigen came in a bag already. I was looking at getting a purigen jar at first and that's why I picked up the bag. You know what it's like in a fish store, it's hard to put anything down once it's in your hands. I'll use it some day I'm sure. I also got some more ceramic rings because I've only been using the default amount that comes with the Fluval 206, which is maybe 1/4 of the tray. So I figured I'd get some more; more mechanical and biological filtration never hurt anyone. I over estimated how big my filter was though, by a lot. And then of course the rest of the mangrove wood. The little 'offcut' pieces are awesome for these smaller tanks. Makes it look a bit more natural. I'd guess that if you were to check out a freshwater stream or creek from these fish's natural habitat, there wouldn't be just one big focal piece in the middle of the bank ;) 

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Remember kids, soak your wood! You don't know what kind of dirty plumbers hands had been rummaging through the wood box for 20 minutes before you picked yours out! (p.s. I wash my hands)

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This rounds out my post for tonight. In the next few days I want to source some plants. I'm going to put a post in the plant classifieds so if you reckon you might have some excess, have a look and let me know. Following that and provided all my parameters are sweet I'll start with the stocking. I'll leave you to wait and see what that is though, but don't hold your breath, you'll be disappointed because they aren't uber exciting haha. 

Cheers guys!

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I sourced some plants for the aquarium. I went to Ultimate Aquarium at Morayfield to waste some time, and found a pretty decent plant selection so decided to grab a couple. Two were unidentified, and one is Ambulia. I think the light green large leaf plant is a type of sword, as it doesn't seem to have melted at all (like I would have expected a crypt to do) when added to the tank even though as I found out when I bought it, it was pretty rotted in the shop. It's bounced back well, all but one of the four plants has new leaves starting to sprout. The fourth was about dead, I'm not expecting too much from it now. I haven't gone to the extent of properly identifying it yet, I'll wait until the leaves have gotten bigger and I can actually see them well. The third plant was a spur of the moment thing. Didn't have a label but I liked how it had different leaf shape and colour to the rest. It wasn't until I got home that I had the thought that it looked an awful lot like a dwarf version of purple waffle, which I know to be a non-aquatic plant. I haven't held out hope for it but it's held on these last few weeks so might be alright yet. It has gone a bit leggy at the top and dropped a few leaves so my gut feeling is that it'll die off. It has dropped a lot of roots down so I'll be pleasantly surprised if it does well. 

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As always with new plants, rinse and rinse well. I hate snails with a passion, so I'll spend the time to make sure I catch all these buggers before they get in my tank.

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I didn't get a shot of the tank when the plants were freshly planted which sucks, because the difference is quite good I think. The ambulia has taken off like the weed it is supposed to be, and the 'swords' are breaking in well. I love swords so can't wait to see them mature. And the little stem plants we will see. If I need to replace them I might go for some bacopa or similar. 

So that was about a fortnight ago now, and things were looking good. My dry cycle was returning good results on the water tests so I figured it was time to add fish. I originally went to Smith's Aquarium in Boondall to get some Otocinclus, but when I saw these guys flitting and sparring about in the sale tank I couldn't say no. I was originally going to have dwarf pencilfish, but impulse won out and so I grabbed 10 of the Hyphessobrycon Bentosi (Ornate Tetra). I tried for 4m and 6f but I think I've ended up with 5 of each. I may go back and get another 2 females just to fix the ratio up a bit more. These guys were so active in the sale tank, with the males displaying very energetically. After adding them to my tank they were back to it within the hour. I managed to get the dominant male from the tank which has a huge anal fin extension and great dorsal fin. Really well carried fish. I can't wait to see what he'll look like properly settled in and on some good foods.

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You can see the dominant male in the last photo there, how long the white is on his anal fin. It'll be good to break out the DSLR camera when the tank is settled and see if I can get some good shots of him. 

Anyway, this is how the tank is sitting now. Hopefully next weekend I'll be able to add the Otos as planned and go from there.

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Update time.

The tank has changed a bit from how it looked before, and not by choice. See that lovely bushy ambulia up the left side? Yeah well it doesn't like my tank apparently, trying to find a cause for that in another thread, but feel free to suggest anything that may be at fault. 

I've also ripped out the terrestrial looking plants from the right. Looked nice when they first went in but as per usual, they dropped leaves and looked like ridiculous planted sticks. I want to plant maybe a bacopa type plant in that corner at this stage, but we will see how the ambulia goes. I have a few stems sitting on that side, just to see if it likes the lower flow better.

I've added a couple of fish too. Not otos, but a different clean up crew. Got some Corydoras 'Julii'. The Julii is in commas because that's what it was advertised as, however they are actually Corydoras Trilineatus, which are very similar. This is a common thing to see so if you ever see Julii advertised, 95% of the time they'll be Trillys. These guys came in a little worn, as they'd just arrived to Smiths within the hour I had arrived, wasn't even a price tag on them yet. They're a touch skinnier than I like, and the fins and barbels are torn up and worn down, but that's all things that'll come good with some TLC. They've settled in well, and great at doing their thing. Although I will say they are somewhat dopey when it comes to food. They won't seek out food when added but rather just bumble about until they find something. Rather funny and frustrating to watch the same fish zig zag 5cm from a piece of flake only to turn the other way and start zig-zagging away from it.

The tetras are doing awesome. Got some real fattys in the group. I reckon I have 2-3 gravid females, and there's 3 active displaying/sparring males. I've tried to get some photos but an iPhone is only so good. Haven't had a go of getting the DSLR out yet, soon. The colours on the tetras would be worthy of a shoot. Kind of need a new avatar now I don't have neons. This is the reason I want my ambulia to do well. I had picked it for the purpose of being a dense laying medium for the tetras to spawn in. There's not going to be much chance of fry surviving but to get them spawning would be an achievement for me. I would like to properly breed these guys, but that's when space allows. Anyway, I'm sure we'll get to the bottom of it eventually. 

So thats about it for the time being. I've got the main fish on order at smiths at the moment, so just waiting on them to come in and then we'll be pretty much set. I've been pretty particular with my request so hopefully they can find something for me. If anybody could they can.

Also, in regards to the Otos. I've been toying with the idea of a single common whiptail instead of a group of otos. I just don't see there being enough algae in this tank to really keep 3 otos sustained. A single whip would probably be better, but they're a little larger too. What's your thoughts?

So anyway, photos right? 

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Again, thanks for reading and checking out my thread.

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Right, well let's hope that's fixed. We're pretty sure it's lighting issues, so I've replaced one of the tubes on the tank with just an AquaOne sunlight globe/tube. I want to find something a little more suited towards plants for the other tube. 

I went and bought one, to find it's a centimetre too short. Why they have 59cm tubes and 60cm tubes I have no idea. I just went the higher wattage (20w) for the plants benefit not knowing there actually different sizes. Anyway, went back and swapped that over, it's looking good now but it is an 18w tube in there. Maybe the tank will now grow enough algae for a few otos after all :lol:.

First tube - WRONG

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Difference in length. 

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This is the difference between the old tube and correct new tube. I had to compare in the carpark just to be 100% sure lol

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And the finished product. Honestly doesn't look much different on a photo but there's an obvious difference on the tank. It seems more 'crisp'. More cleaner lighting. Looks good. The Trillys look nice under it, their contrast between the white and black seems more noticeable.

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I do love the little red lizards. Not a common whip either. 

But unfortunately I won't be able to, or shouldn't, get any new fish just yet. We've finally found a long term place to rent, so we will be moving within the month. I would rather not buy some fish to try and settle in to have them stressed so soon again with a move. 

The plants are showing pretty good results with just a globe change. I haven't got around to changing the other yet either. Two of the stems have shot up and produced new stemlets off near the base. Once they've developed some I'll cut them down and replant. Should be able to re-grow my bunch worth with these two stems. The dwarf chain sword (as we've now found out) is doing well under the lights, the leaves are much more healthier, no browning through them now. 

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