Planted Tank Guru
Join Date: May 2012
Location: New York
I am bad with getting back to things lol
So, a little history, feel free to tl:dr me if it gets too boring :P. For those that do read, I'll try not to make this too long.
Way back when I was but a wee lad we had been keeping a little 20 gallon tank. At the time, I was too young to understand how to properly take care of anything so it was left in the hands of my dad, whom really doesn't know or understand how to take care of fish, even though he thinks that he does. Many years pass, and the tank finds itself in our finished basement, which also was the entertainment area of the house. One day me and him were buying fish at a more or less local Petco and we started buying fish that we were told "go together". Sure, they "went together" but not in a little 20 gallon tall. I don't remember the specifics but I know it involved at least 1 oscar and 2 blood parrots, and maybe a severum or two. Eventually, the tank just kinda went to hell, but there was one fish that ended up surviving the neglect, a lone, bright yellow blood parrot that I had named Sunny. We eventually decide that sunny needs friends, so at a garage sale we picked up a little 30 gallon tank, and once that was all set-up we placed Sunny in the tank, along with a small pictus, a geophagus brasiliensis, a fire mouth, and a convict. Well, over time, we noticed that Sunny was getting bullied, and so we eventually re-homed him. However, the geophagus grew and grew until both the fire mouth and the pictus were dead, and the only other fish living with him was the lone convict, which happened to be male. Eventually, as I was getting older as well, I had gained enough knowledge to realize that this fish needed a tank bigger than a 30 gallon.
To this end, we bought what I consider my first serious fish tank, this 75 gallon tank. This was roughly 5 or 6 years ago. At the time, I had stocked the tank with the original geophagus and a large oscar, alongside a decently sized pleco. Shortly after getting the tank, the geophagus developed pop eye and died shortly after I noticed this issue. So the tank was simply just the pleco and the oscar, to which I then added a large blood parrot, a jack dempsey, and an endli bichir. The tank ran like this for a long time, until I realized that the oscar was developing hole-in-head, and me and my father decided the best course of action was to treat the poor thing in a little 10 gallon quarantine tank. Which had worked well enough to have let the poor fish heal. It was many months later that the Jack Dempsey found itself scared with an open battle wound and then placed in the 10 gallon. I kept him in there for months waiting for the wound to heal, probably mistaking scaring for actual damage. In the jack dempsey's absense, the blood parrot and the oscar were getting into fights, and stupid me decided at the time to add a rose queen to this mix. That lasted for about 3 days, because WWIII erupted the moment the fully grown rose queen hit the tank. THe result of this was to place everything but the rose queen, endli, and pleco into quaintness. Due to ammonia spikes however, I lost both the parrot and the jack dempsey, and not too long after that I lost the oscar due to his jumping out.
I was left with only the pleco and the endli bichir, along with 3 silver dollars that had become part of the tank at an unspecific time. That was the tank about 5 years ago.
Later on, when re-stocking the tank, I decided to throw in 3 new fish, a young flag tail prochelodus, a bright red baby blood parrot, and a small little electric blue jack dempey. A few weeks later, I added 3 angel fish as well, which became two after the subdominant male angelfish ripped the eye out of the dominate male and left him for dead. The tank lasted like this for a good 4 years. The baby cichilids grew up alongside the endli bichir, and eventually a little albino senegal bichir was added to the tank as well, affectionally named "phallic" by yours truly due to my mother looking at me when I wanted to buy the fish and telling me it looked like male genitalia, and promptly having a discussion about this with the old fellow working at the lfs. I experimented with rainbow fish, and they worked for a few months until my endli bichir realized that they made a good snake.
Then, last summer, I leave the country for the first time, a good 2.5 week trip to Europe. My parents are left at home to take care of my pets, since I keep many other things aside from my fish and this particular tank.
The picture of the tank above is from prior to my leaving the country, housing my now 3 year old ebjd, blood parrot, and flag tail prochelodus, along with my original endli, and pleco, a school of silver dollars, an African Black Ghost Knife, and a pair of angelfish. The tank was fish only, and I was confident that I was able to take proper care of my fish.
So I come back from my trip, and what do I find except for my prized ebjd to be slowly dying, having been in perfect health when I left. I was furious, and it was only 3 days later that I had to bury the fish that I raised from a small fry to a large and proud fish. Then came college, in which I was living away from home, though still able to come back every other weekend or so. However, I get a call from my parents telling me that the tank looked like it was a little warm, to which I told them was fine since I liked keeping the tank at about 84. It had been working at that temperature for years, so I figured it would feel warm. I come back home a few days after them mentioning this to me, to find that " a little warm" turned out to be 98 degrees. My fish were in that for at least 4 or 5 days without anyone having done anything about it. I come home to find the skeleton of my Knife, and all 4 of my silver dollars dead. At that point, I was furious as anything. I think this is what caused my parents to start paying more attention to the fine details of my tanks.
Because of this rather major toll in my tank, I decided that I may as well do something different with the tank. Prior to this, I had been experimenting with a low tech planted 10 gallon tank, and decided to convert this 75 into a planted tank as well, while still keeping the surviving stock list. The change happened over christmas break, and it took an entire day for me to switch out all the gravel for brand new eco complete (about 5 bags of the stuff, sprinkled with some of the original gravel on top) and for my initial plants to be placed.
(Too be continued in the next post)