55G Illinois(maybe) Native Biotope - The Planted Tank Forum
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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 12:18 AM Thread Starter
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55G Illinois(maybe) Native Biotope

I am finally getting around to setting up my darter tank, I should be able to start stocking in a few weeks. Here are the specs this tank will have:
  • 55G with dirt mixed with cat litter, capped with black diamond blasting sand
  • DIY stand
  • Full canopy with 4 or 6 12v pc fans and vent hole. Similar to the canopy I made for my 20H.
  • 1 48" shop light with 2 32 watt 6500k t8 tubes mounted in the canopy
  • 2 Marineland C220 will provide filtration. Both filters have sponge pre-filter on the intake. One intake and outlet in each back corner. The filters are configured with coarse sponge, quilt batting, pumice bio-media, more batting and a purigen pack.
  • No heater but will have the cooling system mentioned
  • One piece of driftwood
Fauna:
  • Mud darters (Recommended number?)
  • Blackstripe topminnows (Recommended number?)
  • Redfin shiners (Recommended number?)
  • Possibly an Orange-spotted sunfish
  • A small catostomid. Please recommend a species that will fit into this setup and how many I should get. The purpose is cleanup crew. I am also looking at hornyhead chub for this job.
  • Most likely some snails, ramshorns and bladder snails
Flora:
  • Pond weed.
  • CoontailCeratophyllum demersum
  • Should I create an algae mat for this setup and if so whats the best way to set it up and place it?

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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 12:59 AM
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Should be an interesting build. Have seen a few area specific builds but most of the time it's a ciclid tank or something based on a lake in Australia.
Nice to see something a little more local. In Dubuque, IA there is a Really cool Museum that might give you some inspiration.
Google "dubuque river museum", then look at the associated images.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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The doodette and I may need to make a trip up north to check out that museum. I'm hoping the tank ends up as good as the potential. If I fail it wont be for a lack of research and planning.

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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:14 AM
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They do have many impressive tanks, all based on Mississippi River themes. Maybe not exactly what you are doing, but may offer some new ideas to make yours better.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:33 AM Thread Starter
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I just spoke with the doodette and we are going next Saturday. Might even stay in quad cities Saturday night and go the one of the micro breweries and have a beer or 12 lol.
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 04:34 AM
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Dooood! I was just thinking the same thing...well, kinda...I pulled the sand I have as a cap over my dirted 55gal from a local creek which gave me the idea to do a local tank, but from Oklahoma though. Not this tank, but maybe the next. BTW, I love the darters - they look so cool! Have you had darters before? I'm curious as to how difficult they may or may not be to raise.

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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:29 PM Thread Starter
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@KMCross I have never raised darters. My understanding is they are somewhat sensitive to water meaning they require clean water so water changes are a must. NANFA has a darter care document on their website: Darters: Aquarium Care and Design Guidelines, by Ray Katula You want to make sure you set the tank up properly for the type of darters you want. I am going for a swamp type setup. Interesting fact I read in passing: darters have no swim bladder which is why they dart around the way they do. If you have the tank setup up properly then my understanding is they are not hard to raise, will get used to eating frozen food and sometimes will take to dry when they see their tank mates eating and figure out that it is food. I am going to try to buy tank raised darters if I can to avoid the potential food pitfall.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:34 PM
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The darters are also cool water fish, right? (Hence your cooling fan setup?)

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 01:42 PM Thread Starter
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@KMCross Exactly correct. They can stand temps a little higher than normal but not for long sustained periods. One other thing: no heater needed. As a matter of fact letting the fish cool down will spur them into spawning. As long as the water remains liquid they will remain happy.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 09:02 PM
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Say you had trouble with finding tank-raised Darters, do you have a source for brine shrimp? Would they work? None of the LFSs in my area carry them. I suppose you could grow your own. I read an interesting article on raising mosquito larva http://www.wikihow.com/Raise-Mosquit...-for-Fish-Food I would imagine that would be the inexpensive and natural approach to a native diet for native fish if you could get past the turn off of breeding potential mosquitoes.

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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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@Monrankim if I captured them they would be a little large for brine shrimp. At that point I would probably start a grindal worm culture or something.

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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 10:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedood View Post
@Monrankim if I captured them they would be a little large for brine shrimp. At that point I would probably start a grindal worm culture or something.
Years ago I did small backyard pond projects and I would net fish in the weeds. I would get the usual minnows and ghost shrimp but I would also get very small gamefish fry. I assumed you would be doing something similar. Sometimes eggs would come in on the plants and suddenly fish would appear in whatever I was building.

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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:23 PM Thread Starter
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If I get wild they will be larger fish that I would try to coax into breeding.

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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:39 PM
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Very cool

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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-08-2016, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Very cool
I will have my fingers crossed!

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