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Old 07-17-2015, 02:57 AM   #1
Bine
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Here it is. Freshly remodeled. We still need a Magic Eraser to get off some stuck on gunk.

Fish
*Black neon x5 Just got them. Very nice.
*Rummy nose x5 These have done very well for us. Three are nearly three years old.
*Blood fin x5 These have also done well.
*Black skirt x1
*Black phantom x1 Gotta be four years old.
I realize 5 is the most recommend minimum school size. We had three Black phantom. That's how many the shop had. Two died. We bought two Black skirt thinking they were the same. One died. I haven't seen Black phantom since we got the first ones. This was early on after we decided not keep Plattys or Mollies. Too many fry. I think the Black phantom may be nearing its end of life, although it looks perfectly healthy. The phantom and skirt do hang with each other.
*Chinese algae eater x1 I know. Evil fish of the debil. It's been pretty cool. We've had it five years now. No problems, but it does like to redecorate.
*Yoyo loach x1 We had three. One died. Then the other. It was a while before we found a shop with more. We couldn't even get them on order. Two shops fell through. I'm not sure if I want to add another. The survivor has gotten some size on it now, and so has the CAE. Would we be inviting trouble with two small Yoyo now? They are available again. I will say, they decimated the Ramshorn and Malay snails that had infested the tank before we got them. That's why we got them. Great work, Yoyos!

Plants
*Red tiger lotus x1 This is our second. The first did great, until we put a crawfish in the tank. That little monster cut it down and dug it up. This second one has taken a beating during the cyanobacteria war.
*Anubias something or another x2 These are some tough plants. They still wear the battle scars of the cyano war.
*Water onion x1 There are two more water onion. One just sprouted.
*Four aponogeton that were just planted but haven't sprouted, yet.
*There's also a little mystery moss I salvaged from the remodel.

Hard scape
A few hunks of petrified wood and some other rocks. Mostly river rocks and some gravel substrate. Five pounds of gravel. To heck with gravel as a primary substrate. Used it in three tanks now. It's fine, of course, but we're done with it as primary. Personal preference. We're now only using it for plants and to give the CAE and Yoyo something to wallow in. There is some ceramic tile in there we made a two room cave with. I've read not use ceramic tile. It's been in this tank for years. We've had algae problems, but no problems to associate with the tile. Thoughts on tile?

Another plant anchor technique we use is 50 pound braided fishing line and stainless steel nuts. The anubias are not planted in the gravel. They are only weighted down with the line and nuts.

We had a brown craft paper background on the back glass. That was dumb. It got nasty. We're not going to do one this time in hopes the plants do it for us.

The stand is from a furniture company in Mississippi.

Hardware
55 gallon long or regular, glass
HOB Top Fin 60. Cheap yet effective. Has proven durable.
Westinghouse 23 watt 6400k "day light" CFL x4 in a modified Top Fin hood.
DIY yeast CO2. Still experimenting.

Water

pH in the mid 7s
Nitrification cycle is solid, even after remodel. We tend to let the filters go biological. BUT, big hairy BUT, as we've learned, that doesn't mean to let them go unattended.
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Old 07-18-2015, 12:08 AM   #2
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A water onion and an apon has sprouted.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:27 AM   #3
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You might look through some of the gallery and look for the level of the sub/gravel.
It doesn't need to be very high along the front edge, but the plants could use more of it
for their roots. A Crypt Wendtii would be a good easy plant. Petco has smaller ones for cheap. Will eventually get about 7-8" tall and almost that big around.
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Old 07-18-2015, 03:09 PM   #4
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Looks like the apon require the deepest substrate. Anubias like their roots out, but can grow planted. They make a mangrove look when their roots are out. Looks cool. I'm going to add another. The water onion likes being grown like an onion- with the top of the bulb exposed. It will make that part turn green, and ours already is. Some folks grow the lotus with the bulb partly exposed and some bury it. Ours is putting out new growth exposed. Awolf has some pics up of what looks like the same lotus. It's exposed and looks great.

The CAE is loving life since the remodle. It's out and mouthing all over stuff, even though it has a cave.
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Old 07-18-2015, 04:21 PM   #5
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And we're back from PetCo. Hey. They have a nice variety and keep the tanks looking good. I like how they have plants in their tanks. You can often buy those. Just ask.

We went for an anubias and two Yoyo. Came back with an anubias, two Yoyo and three white skirt. Wife had to have them. Hopefully they school up with the black skirt and phantom.

That's 24 fish. Aqadvisor says, except for the CAE and Yoyo maybe getting too big and aggressive, we still have plenty room. Sounds good, but this is it. Done. Stocked. Staying away from the fish dept from now on.

Of course, there's always tanks popping up at garage sales...

Nope. We've a 10 gallon with a Pacman in the office as it is. We need to do some maintenance on that today.

But another beta tank with some shrimp...
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Old 07-18-2015, 10:38 PM   #6
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Here's our Pacman habitat. Ten gallon with Eco Earth and a Pothos. Two 13 watt CFL. The ivy and the frog love this setup.

We trimmed out some roots, stems and leaves today, and changed some substrate. The frog buried itself as soon as we put it back in. I'll post a pic when it comes back out.
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Old 07-19-2015, 01:37 PM   #7
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I like the river bottom thing you have going on here. If I may suggest a large piece of driftwood which is branchy and tall. You can create a really nice scape using only very basic plants....with your substrate I would keep to plants which are not very root dependent. Ferns, Anubias, Moss, and floating species would work best. You could also pot some crypts in a more plant friendly substrate and hide the pots in your hardscape.
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Old 07-19-2015, 10:28 PM   #8
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Ha! You say, and today I found someone throwing out perfectly good dead and uprooted Holly bushes. The wood's not even rotted and looks all gnarly. The fools!
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Old 07-21-2015, 02:34 AM   #9
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My eyes were bigger than my tank. That holy would have been ridiculous in the there. I cut off some roots to use, though. They've been boiled for an hour. I'll peel the bark off when they cool, and then boil again. I'm thinking brush pile with a plant growing out of it. If they don't sink in a week, they're out.

Tried the Scott version of Magic Eraser. It took off some stubborn small brown and green spots with no effort. The large white spot will need more work. It looks like soap scum or a hard water spot, but has been under water the whole time. It appeared after some hair algae had grown there.
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Old 07-22-2015, 02:26 AM   #10
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Awww, yeah. Coming along nicely. The apon is getting bigger every day. A new one has sprouted. Not quite where it was planted, but... And the new water onion is a little bigger, too. Salvaged moss is also making a come back.

The drift wood; holly roots, really, has already sunk in the big stock pot. It was mostly sunk after the first boil. After the second, it's all the way sunk. I was able to peel and skin off most of the wet bark with a sharp, thin knife. It's set up in the kitchen now how I want it laid out in the tank. Maybe I'll go over it with some sandpaper to knock down the few obvious knife marks. It has a driftwood in the making look right now. I hope to keep that look. Until time has its way, anyway.

Fishes are doing fine. The new yoyo aren't getting bullied, even though they are out a lot. They like rooting around in the crevasses of the river rock. The larger, older yoyo has taken up residence under a freshwater muscle shell. Hey! We bought you friends. Come out and play.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:15 AM   #11
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The best laid plans...

The sunken holly roots did not sink in the the much larger and deeper aquarium after sitting out overnight. So now, instead of the compact sculture I made yesterday, it's spread out and pinned in place amongst the largest rocks and petrified wood. Pretty cool, actually- the way it hugs and cradles the pieces holding it down. We shall see.

There's some negative space in the tank, but this is a growing tank. Four apon and a water onion are being grown from bulbs. The existing lotus and onion were grown the same way, and even the anubias were bought small. It's time to slow my roll and let the tank do its thing.
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Old 07-24-2015, 01:44 AM   #12
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The CAE has ignored my instruction to leave the tank as is for a while, and has rearranged the roots. Good news is, none of them floated.

None of the fish have floated, either. The water is just ever so slightly tea colored now.
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Old 07-25-2015, 12:13 AM   #13
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The roots now have only a slight bouancy, but stay put on the bottom.

I found a perfectly cleaned turtle shell today. Both halves intact. Looks like the turtle got stuck, died- probably of dehydration, and the scavengers picked it clean. They even ate out the smell. I still cleaned it in water and an antibacterial soap. The shell now serves as a cave. The tile is out.

One new CFL burned out today. The socket seems fine. Guess it was just a bum bulb.
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Old 08-02-2015, 10:10 PM   #14
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Some white fuzz started growing on the wood and turtle shell. The CAE ate it. I know it did because I watched it do it. Hooray, CAE.

The left over under bark on the holly if sloughing off.

So far, we've got two apons and a water onion from the last TopFin plant pack. That means two apons and a water onion have not come up.

Couldn't find the same Kelvin in the same wattage, so now we have two warmer (more red) daylight lights. They're 6,500 K and we still have two of the first bulbs. Plants doing well.

The oldest largest yoyo has gone into hiding. It stays hidden all the time. The other two are constantly poking around the rocks and plants.

The CAE is out more than ever. It likes the turtle shell when it does hide.

No deaths.
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Old 08-05-2015, 01:16 AM   #15
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Another apon from the TopFin pack has sprouted.
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