12G Long shrimp & tiny fish tank/very expensive cat water dish
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
Kosey929
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12G Long shrimp & tiny fish tank/very expensive cat water dish


So, I already typed this all up once only to have PhotoBucket lock up Safari on me requiring that I force quit Safari and lose an hour’s worth of work. Grrr!!!! Now that I got that off my chest, I’m ready to write a journal of my new tank…AGAIN. (This time I’m doing it in Word in case PhotoBucket messes me up again!)

Anyway, I finally figured out what to do with my recently acquired Mr. Aqua 12-gallon long aquarium. I started this tank a couple of weeks ago and figure it’s time to reveal it to the world.

Hardware:
Mr. Aqua 12-gallon long aquarium
Fluval Nano Internal Filter (I can’t locate a GPH for this filter, but Fluval says it’s suitable for ‘up to a 15G’ tank. Their 1 Plus internal filter is rated up to a 12G tank and has a rate of 50GPH. Whatever this one is pushing out, it seems to be plenty.)
Hydor ProTherm Aquarium Heater 100W – temperature is holding steady at 77°F
Verilux Brookfield Deluxe Natural Spectrum Floor Lamp – described here

Hardscape:
8.8 lbs. Fluval Shrimp Stratum
2 ‘Cichlid Stones’
2 small pieces of Mopani driftwood

Flora:
Subwassertang
A cutting of a species which ID I can’t remember from my 8G
Vesicularia montagnei ‘Christmas Moss’
Fissidens Fontanus
Hydrocotyle leucocephala ‘Brazilian Pennywort’
Hemianthus micranthemoides ‘Baby Tears’ or ‘Pearl Grass’
Anubias Nana
Limnophila Aromatica (very tiny piece rescued from my 56G where it was too shaded by other plants)
Small freebie unidentified Cryptocoryne sp.
Microsporum pteropus ‘Java Fern’
Microsporum pteropus Windelov ‘Lace Leaf Java Fern’

Fauna:
6 – Danio margaritatus ‘Celestial Pearl Danios’
6 – Dario dario ‘Scarlet Gem Badis’
3 – Otocinclus sp. ‘Oto Cats’
2 – Corydoras arcuatus ‘Skunk Cory Cats’
12 – Neocaridinia sp. ‘Mandarin Shrimp’

8/17/11 – Day one:
Lacking a better means of cleaning the Stratum I dumped it in the tank, filled the tank with tap water and siphoned it out. My aby, Kosey, is already intrigued by this soupy mess.


I really wanted to keep the filter completely submerged if possible but the intake is on the bottom, which would be at least partially buried in the substrate if I placed the filter as low as I wanted. I had to find a way to keep the substrate out. So, I cut on of those semi-disposable Ziploc storage bowls in half with kitchen shears. I placed this at the bottom of the tank with the cut side to the back glass, then set the filter all the way down in the bowl and pushed the substrate around the bowl. This mod left about an inch or so of clear space for water around the base of the filter. Finally, I wedged a piece of filter foam just large enough to cover the intake between it and the bowl to keep shrimpies out of the intake as well. Works like a charm! (If anyone’s interested, I’ll post pics of that later.)

Next, I placed the heater and hardscape and filled the tank with 9 or 10 gallons of drinking water from Wal-Mart. Then, I planted what plants I had on hand. It’s still pretty cloudy…the stratum bag says to avoid stirring it up too much and they aren’t kidding!! I hooked up a small AC filter overnight to help clear up the water without clogging the media in the internal filter.


8/24/11:
The tank had finished cycling a few days ago, so I visited Forest Lake Pets in Forest Lake, MN, on my way home from a twin cities business trip. I bought out the 8 CPDs they had in stock. After the 4-hour drive home, I could tell one was not well…sure enough it and another one died over night despite my midnight effort at drip acclimation. I retested my water, but it was definitely OK…no ammonia or nitrite and all other params as desired. I think the stress of netting and too long in the bag was just too much for the little buggers.

8/26/11:
Received my remaining plants and finished the aquascape. CPDs are very happy and starting to swim out in the open. Oh…and Kosey still approved – CPDs are fun to watch and fish flavored water is very tasty. It has since been established, that our three cats will be taking over all water removal efforts and leaving top offs to me. A fair deal as long as the beasties don’t eat my fishies as far as I’m concerned.


Because of the lighting I chose, which I admit was chosen mainly to maintain aesthetics (I hate the look of most aquarium lights and didn’t want to spoil the look of a rimless tank.), this tank is well lit on one end and quite dim on the other. For this reason, I planted only java ferns on the far right side. I concentrated the hardscape and remaining plantings on the left side for the dual reasons of lighting and camouflaging the filter and heater. I’m hoping all eventually grows in enough to hide the hardware well even though it’s not too bad as it is.


CPDs!! Greatly magnified, and quite blurry, but still cool.


8/31/11:
Received my order from LiveAquaria with shrimpies and badis. The badis are super tiny and equally pretty. I think I received 5 male badis and 1 female, but I’m not 100% sure about this as they like to hide and I can rarely find all 6 at one time.




Hitchhiker? I don’t know if the grey shrimp in this blurry pic came in on my moss or what?? When I received my mandarins, I’m sure they were all orange.


These little buggers are camera shy!




9/1/11:
Picked up two skunk cories at Foster & Smith’s retail store. They’re fun to watch and liven up the tank quite a bit. I’m a bit surprised, that they seem to be doing a nice job as dither fish. Here’s a bad pic of one.


9/3/11:
Rounded out the population with 3 oto cats purchased at PetSmart. This is all I’m planning for now, so it’s time to watch the shrimp make babies! I can’t guarantee I won’t add more CPDs if I can find them again, though.

9/4/11:
Here’s what the tank looks like today. The addition of the cories and otos has really added to the activity level in the tank, though these pics don’t capture it well.


FTS. This really shows the difference in lighting from the left to right sides.


The view from my recliner. ☺



I hope you all like it, but I’m open to constructive criticism as well!
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:46 PM   #2
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I really like the looks of this tank. It looks much larger than it is. Your mandarin shrimp look awesome.
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:52 PM   #3
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Nice looking tank. If you don't like the look of the filter inside the tank you could look at canister filters with some lilly pipes. I'm not completely sure, but, that shrimp could be a feeder shrimp. You might want to take that guy out if possible before he mates with your other shrimps. Can't wait for more updates!
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Old 09-04-2011, 08:54 PM   #4
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Very good job on the scape
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Old 09-04-2011, 09:50 PM   #5
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I've never seen a 12g long before - I really love the shape of it. The strong horizontal shape has so much potential. I think you scaped this one very nicely - the quiet open area, the ceramic rock caves, and the pennywort are my favorite bits!
Your cats is super cute, Abysinnians were my mother's favorite breed and I wish she had been able to get one!
Is yours a blue, or was that an effect of the lighting?
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Old 09-05-2011, 12:34 AM   #6
Kosey929
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cynth View Post
I really like the looks of this tank. It looks much larger than it is. Your mandarin shrimp look awesome.
Thanks so much! That's what I was going for. A tank this low and long poses some challenges as it limits your choices for both flora and fauna.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kcirtappatrick View Post
Nice looking tank. If you don't like the look of the filter inside the tank you could look at canister filters with some lilly pipes. I'm not completely sure, but, that shrimp could be a feeder shrimp. You might want to take that guy out if possible before he mates with your other shrimps. Can't wait for more updates!
I actually went with the internal filter over canister and lily pipes because I don't want lots of stuff sticking out of the tank. My goal with this tank was to keep it as aesthetically pleasing and self contained as possible.

I hope that shrimp can't cross with the mandarins - I never thought of that - Duh! I will try to catch it and put it in my 8 as soon as I can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2in10 View Post
Very good job on the scape
Thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by driftwoodhunter View Post
I've never seen a 12g long before - I really love the shape of it. The strong horizontal shape has so much potential. I think you scaped this one very nicely - the quiet open area, the ceramic rock caves, and the pennywort are my favorite bits!
Your cats is super cute, Abysinnians were my mother's favorite breed and I wish she had been able to get one!
Is yours a blue, or was that an effect of the lighting?
There are a few other threads on here for tanks like mine. You should check them out. It's a cool tank size, but poses some challenges for stocking and scaping for sure! Thanks for liking my 'scape, too.

Abys are a fun breed, and I'm sorry you're mom never got to have one...though they aren't for the faint of heart! I have another one, Minka - Kosey's younger sister, and she is the kitten that never grew up both in size and personality. They are both a ton of fun, but Minka can be a holy terror! And, no he's not a blue but a ruddy and actually quite red...and fat. Here's an early tank pic with both of them.

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Old 09-05-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
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I love the view from your recliner - both the tank and the lovely view from your window! Your tank looks great, I have been eying that one for some time now. Nice to see someone else with it. You have done a great job!

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Old 09-05-2011, 02:00 PM   #8
Kosey929
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duff View Post
I love the view from your recliner - both the tank and the lovely view from your window! Your tank looks great, I have been eying that one for some time now. Nice to see someone else with it. You have done a great job!

Duff
Thanks, Duff! I love my view too.
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Old 09-26-2011, 03:41 AM   #9
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I love the look of your tank! And I am probably going to totally steal your idea about lighting with a floor stand because . . .

I found this post looking for information about cats and open-top aquariums. We have always kept a hood on our 30gal to keep the cats out, but I hate the look and the light is terrible. My husband and I want to keep it open and have a light hovering over it, but we have six cats! They already jump on the hood and drink the water through the openings. Our kitten even jumped into the aquarium (and right back out!) once during a water change. We had a glass-top first, which we kept on for about thirty minutes when it quickly became clear that it was going to break very soon. Also, the cats like to paw at the glass when the fish are especially active right next to the glass, like during a cory mating dance.

Your floor lamp solution is great especially because I have been worried that the legs on those table-shaped fixtures would break causing the light to fall in the water, or that the cats would rip a hanging fixture right out of the ceiling. Since we rent, I am also hesitant about putting holes in the ceiling and don't know much about its structural soundness.

Do you have any more experience with cat-proof lighting for planted aquariums? Do your cats reach into the water and harass the fish? I noticed your tank is on a table with an edge large enough for a cat to sit on, whereas our tank is a stand without much of an edge. I'm with you and don't mind the cats drinking the water. After all, if the dissolved nitrogen compounds and minerals are safe for fish, it's certainly safe for cats. However, is aquarium water so delicious that if we don't give them an edge from which they can easily drink it, are they going to keep trying to get at it other ways?

I'm not surprised at your experience with your otos and corys. Ours hid almost all day or, in the case of the otos, held very still all day until we put them with our gouramis and platies in the bigger tank. I think the shyness reduction thing is like a feedback loop, because the gouramis and platys also became more outgoing and active.

Since you asked for constructive criticism, the first suggestion I have is that because it does merge so seamlessly into the room and even the outdoors beyond the window, which is absolutely lovely all together, is to add a very subtle hint of contrasting color around your focal point, tracking the diagonal of your pennywort, to give the eye more of a path between indoors, aquarium, and outdoors. Maybe a couple stems of differing lengths of a pinkish-green rotala or one of the reddish crypts next to a slightly shorter one near the small piece of wood on the right. The other is that since you have such a cool contrast of light and dark, why not give the base of the java ferns some broader low soft shadowy texture with moss and maybe small anubias, and maximize your bright greens and wild textures in the light area? The latter will allow the addition of proportionately more visual-flow-enhancing color additions, and I think you have sufficient dark green there already to unify the tank.

I'd love to hear more about your experience with your beautiful open-top aquarium and particularly how your cats deal with it! It really does look like a little visual breath of fresh air.
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