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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-22-2013 04:47 PM
crazymittens Pics...
EDIT: Ugh...I really need to spend more time taking pictures. So underexposed.









The tank after some pruning and new plants. Interestingly after I did the big prune of jungle val, it never really went back to crazy growth like before.

07-22-2013 12:24 PM
crazymittens Random update. Pond snails have appeared seemingly from nowhere...but that's cool - cleaning crew and whatnot.

ALSO...!...discovered baby platies in the sump! One is ~1cm long, the other is half that size. Assuming they are still alive because fish no longer 'take the ride' to join them. Will have to read up on how big they need to be prior to a rescue operation.

ALSO......!...shrampies! Still alive! In the sump! Boggles the mind...haven't seen one in many months - it's one of the Amanos I got...can't even remember when. It was cold out. So long time now. Yep, still alive and just shramping along.

I will post some pics.
07-02-2013 05:12 PM
crazymittens Hum, after reading some on trimming, I think it's clear why my plant growth has been kinda lame. I don't think I've ever trimmed them...just when they reached the surface.

Some interesting reading/viewing material:
06-16-2013 06:52 PM
crazymittens Haha, thanks. Less about patience, more about addiction to internet research. I'll be starting a new thread for the 20G shrimparium - just got the plants yesterday!

I want to highlight that 50G is really not that large from a viewing perspective...only 3' long, and when you are primarily viewing from the back (sitting at my desk) and the 3-stack of 2" plumbing is in the way...ya, definitely doing minimum 180G next time. Even from the front, just not that much space to fit everything.
06-16-2013 06:27 PM
tattooedfool83 Awesome build. And dude youre hilarious.. how you worded your descriptions as wel kept me reading this thread for 30mins or so
06-16-2013 05:24 PM
midlife_hobbyist Just read your 6 page thread.....Great work! I could learn the art of patience from you - never one of my strong suits....tank looks great.
06-07-2013 06:13 PM
crazymittens Oh, I wanted to post a list of do's/don'ts:
  • Don't do an internal overflow - makes cleaning very difficult.
  • Don't do 'through-tank' returns, go overtop (have had the ball valves stick open once).
  • Don't do coast-to-coast style without some sort of screen/mesh - angelfish do not like the sump trip, and rescuing everything else is a pain.
  • Do have lids for the display tank and sump to prevent the majority of evaporation - saves a lot of refill maintenance.
  • Do stick with one breed of fish rather than a bunch of different ones, looks nicer IMO.
  • Do spend more time on the aquascape plan.
  • Don't forget that the gravel/mts takes up 1-2", so plan rock display accordingly.
  • Don't go small on the sump...30G I'm thinking is the smallest you'd want a sump from a purely practical point of view (maintenance, access, etc)
  • Do get a lot of plants to start, key for getting cycled and keeping the water levels in the green.
  • Do make your sump cover easy to remove.

If there's ever a catastrophe or we move or some such, I think we'll be moving to a 180G at minimum...most likely a plywood tank. 55G is so small!
05-31-2013 03:57 PM
crazymittens Wow, didn't realize how long it's been since I built this. Guess I'll submit an update.

Still have yet to change the water, aside from top-ups. Now that I have added a proper top to both the sump and tank, I'll have to do a monthly test, maybe. Fish are still super-healthy/happy.

We are now up to...30 fish? ~8 Cardinals, 1 Angel (other two got sucked into the sump), ~12 silver tetras, ~10 Sunburst Platies. All of the shrimp were eaten, unfortunately. I did a water test the other day just for kicks, levels are zero.

The water wisteria died off after I reduced the light window (to combat algae), but the rest of the plants are doing great. The red thing mysteriously came back to life, but still not doing that great.

Anyways...pretty happy with things, and no water changes is pretty awesome. Only maintenance I do is scrub the glass once a month, feed the fish every 2-3 days, and clean the sump mechanical filter maybe once a month. So... 1-2 hours maintenance per month, plus feeding.

Oh...after I added the sump/tank tops, refill period has shrunk dramatically...I'm guessing that will be down to 2 gallons a month, maybe less.
11-15-2012 12:00 AM
crazymittens Thought I would post an update.

Tank is doing really well, down to 9 Cardinals - no trace of the missing fish to this day. We added 30-40 shrimp on Saturday...I think there are 10 left. Cardinals are looking super fat, and several shrimp carcasses have turned up, besides all the shrimp gone missing.

Shrimp regularly get sucked down into the sump...seem okay with it, for the most part, but annoying to have to keep moving them back to the display area. They won't last long at this rate, anyway, kinda sad that the Cardinals are such angry fishies. Not like they don't get fed...they were growing very nicely with my feeding schedule.

The good news about the tank is that it has been a month since the introduction of fish, and I have yet to do a water change, or even consider one (just refilling the sump ~0.5G every other day or so. The ammonia levels are 0, nitrate levels are 0 (strange for a planted tank...they were ~5-10 when I introduced fish I think), and water is crystal clear. Will probably do one once all the shrimp get eaten. Maybe.

Bottom line we enjoy the tank, but very sad the shrimpies won't work out. They were a lot of fun to watch for the first day.
10-13-2012 11:47 PM
crazymittens Not the greatest video, but you get the idea.

http://youtu.be/t9mYiRDmvGw

As a side note - the ball check valve is rattling because of the high flow rate. If I crank the flow down using the ball valve, rattling goes away.
10-08-2012 04:21 PM
crazymittens Well, guess this will be the last update for a while (until I finish that sump lid, anyway).
  • Still have 11 Cardinals...never did find that guy who disappeared...very confusing. Guess they ate him? Maybe his body is buried in some ancient Tetra rite?
  • Plants are indeed growing...the vals took off, anubias have a few new shoots, even the red tiger lily has new leaves.
  • The swords are the only item that did not do well. One has all leaves gone (I plucked when they turned yellow), other only has a few left. I trimmed the old stems back today, maybe that will help.
  • Cleaned the mechanical filters for the first time today, nice collection of diatoms/old fish food.
  • I am still confused about how much/how/when to feed these guys. Been doing every other day, a good pinch, place near the bottom/back and let them go to town. They look really fat afterwards.

On the feeding front, I've had suggestions to pre-soak food like bloodworms, and for both types (flaks/worms) to put into a turkey baster to inject into the calmer areas of the tank.

Water parameters stabilized about a week before I placed the fish in. Waiting on some consensus as to what currents shrimp can withstand before I get a batch of RCS.
10-02-2012 08:17 PM
crazymittens Well, the cycle is complete, good enough for me.

I did a 50-60% water change, double-checked parameters (nitrates ended up 5-10, zero for ammon/nitrite), and was off to Big Al's.

I'm still in a bit of sticker shock, but bit the bullet. Cardinals, 12 (6 for $18) of them.

I have discovered something: My fancy overflow and super-high turnover is NOT fish friendly. I think we kinda knew that going into this, but had no idea how crazy it would be.

One little guy...who I am pretty sure won't make it...got sucked into the filter sock almost immediately. I quickly turned off both pumps, got him out, but he's alternating between swimming upside down and bumping into things whilst swimming upside down.

The other 11 seem to have done better - I think it's because the aforementioned doomed fish took several minutes longer to net out of the bag, so the others had schooled, and he just got confused. They have found a 'quiet' spot in the tank, and I am running only the smaller of the two pumps at the moment. 9 of them consistently school in a back corner.

I put in some food, but no takers yet. Guessing it'll take them a day or so to get acclimated.

I moved the floating Water Wisteria to form a 'barrier' along the overflow edge - it seems to help, a little. If nothing else the Wisteria will enjoy the extra oxygen.

Unfortunately we have no camera at this time, so no pictures.



Jeepers. Feel bad for that little guy.
10-01-2012 05:53 PM
crazymittens Ok, quick update on the cycle. I think we're closer. I will be adding a little less ammonia this time, see how it does.
  • Water@78.1, slightly green/yellow tint to it
  • Ammonia@0
  • Nitrites@0
  • Nitrates@10-20 (should be fine for fish)
  • Turned off one of the light sets (so only 2 bulbs instead of 4 T5HO) in an attempt to curb diatoms
  • The plants appear to be growing, so that's something

Nitrates have decreased, so it seems the plants are eating them up.

Added 7cc ammonia.
09-27-2012 02:03 AM
crazymittens Thanks, it's been a lot of fun. Good question - pretty sure no, as bacteria has grown just fine, but really have no clue.

Thanks for the tip on the plant...will look it up. The LFS guys (and my wife) were really enthused about it, but so far hasn't done well. Maybe it'll just take longer...
09-27-2012 12:44 AM
KFryman Nice tank build!

Were those sponge type things presoaped? It sounds stupid, but sponges sometimes come with soap on them from the factory, weird, but something to take into account.

Looks like red tiger lotus.
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