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post #16 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 01:24 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by zmartin View Post
Thatís really disappointing. I trust youíve arranged the replacement before tearing it down? But agreed better to sort now. As rewarding as aquariums are - the hobby certainly tests patience a lot of the time.

Good luck with it.
Yes- I asked the shop if they had another in stock before I took everything down and went in. I got the replacement around noon and spent the rest of the day setting it up, leak test for a few hours, making sure it was still level, replanting. Wow, I'm tired. I think it looks nice though, and there are no sign of worrisome gaps or bubbles in the seams. First tank was probably ok really but I'm not the kind of person who can relax about that kind of thing... . . Tomorrow after the tank settles- it's very cloudy again now- I will test it, see if the cycle got set back any, and take a few photos (plants are arranged a bit differently).

It was very stinky, btw. I am not sure if it is because I used fish food to cycle- that always makes a foul odor- or because the old substrate is a mess (but the plants love it, most have bounced back from their initial melt) and the sticks are starting to rot. I guess it was kind of a good thing to have to do this teardown, the substrate got a second rinse whether I wanted to or not, and I rubbed mushy layer off the wood pieces. Pretty soon I'm going to get a new bag of safe-t-sorb and prep it, then replace the substrate a fourth at a time. . . . and probably replace the wood with new pieces from my yard, too.
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post #17 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-12-2018, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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take two

on my 33 gal window tank- took it in for the replacement, new tank checks out fine. Ready for a lot of photos? When I first got the replacement tank home, double-checked it was still level on the stand, wiped it down (dusty) and filled with half saved tank water, half new (a lot of the saved water was very dirty/foul from the disturbed substrate) and put all the plants in- just let them float or sink as will. Left it that way for hours, to verify no leaks (or air pockets showing up in seams). Crypt cordata had a small stone tied to a few roots, so it was a sinker:

Just because I could, I took a photo from underneath the tank, looking up thru the momentarily-bare bottom at a bunch of bolbitis fern. Bolbitis always looks rather dull or brown when backlit in the tank, nice to see that most of it is actually still green!

After half a day, when I was satisfied with the tank's integrity, I added the substrate and put the filter back in (they'd been sharing space in a bucket). Then started planting. Here's that same crypt cordata with its roots covered.

Results, after hours of work:

Here's my crinum replanted, in window light-

and with backdrop (cardboard panels temporarily propped behind the tank to get some better photos)-

The layout is more or less the same (well, I moved the sticks around). I took Lady's (female paradise fish) ceramic cave and took Perry's windelov ferns, out of their temporary homes. Tied ferns on the cave and moved it into the tank.

Most of the taller crypts are replanted here, short end behind the cave- I unthinkingly mixed some crypt becketti petchii in with the undulata. Oops. Wasn't looking close enough. Might separate them out later.

Crypt becketti replanted in the foreground-

Vallisneria are mostly all on the right end, where the light is better. I noticed before, the ones on left wide near filter, weren't too happy.

Another clump of java fern windelov I pulled from Perry's bin, in front of the ludwigia thicket.

Pic of righthand short end- vallisneria with ludwigia behind. Ludwigia repens var arcuata has done remarkably well with the changes, btw. I think it's happier in the unheated, window-lit tank.

I was really glad to see my aponogeton capuronii is no worse for wear, either. I expected to remove a lot of dead leaves when doing this tank-change, but the apono only needed two culled.

Up top: salvinia minia is looking fine- only a few brown leaves

Hornwort is starting to grow back

All the sweet potato vine cuttings now have strong white roots

Full angle shots- from the right side:

and the left:

View from my couch- with the backdrop still on

But this is how my camera takes it, with the usual setup (no backdrop, just three layers of translucent plastic- two on the back of the tank and one on the lower window pane).

Almost ready for the fishes! It's a good sign, I think, that my nerite snail (I forgot it was in here) crawled back down from the water line and is exploring at substrate level. I'm going to move this snail either into the 20H or the 45, though. It won't do the cold of winter.


Water parameters this morning: slight Ammonia spike 0.25ppm, Nitrite almost at zero less than 0.25, Nitrates 20. Not much of a setback!
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Last edited by JJ09; 08-12-2018 at 09:46 PM. Reason: all the photos
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post #18 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
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Day before yesterday

I introduced my paradise fishes to the tank. They sparred immediately. I wish I'd filmed it, but my camera battery was dead. For a long time they went in slow spirals broadside to each other, fins and operculum flared, shaking their heads and thrusting tails at each other. Darting and dashing at each other, circling close. Locked lips and drifted down as they tested each others' strength. Didn't seem to actually be getting torn apart, so I let them try and settle it. When things appeared to be getting frenzied, I put a stick in the water between them. Then Lady followed Perry close around the tank, pushed him into a corner. For a long time he cowered behind the filter box.

Then a curious thing, she came up behind the filter box and just lay on the substrate, facing him, a few centimeters away. They rested like that just staring at each other- Lady breathing hard, Perry slowly beginning to flare his fins. She moves around the tank now exploring, darting to the surface, attacking and eating ramshorns. If Perry leaves his corner she chases him back. It went on and off again like that for hours. No more lip wrestling or circling, but Lady definitely seems to think its all hers-

As far as I can tell, there's no serious damage. Lady has a scrape on the top of her head, and a few scales missing on her right side above the pectoral fin.

Perry has nips on both sides, but nothing major. He seems very intimidated, though.

It occurred to me later, of course they are probably both stressed as much due to the new environment as finally meeting each other, so I put up background panels to dim the tank. Perry ventured out of hiding, and Lady promptly chased him back. The blur is his red tail- she's the shadow right behind.

I am doubtful, but I do hope they can work it out. I take it as a good sign nobody had their fins ripped yet, but it wouldn't be a happy situation if Lady kept Perry in the corner all the time, and he constantly felt stressed or is bullied from the food. I'll have to wait and see, keep a close eye on them, do frequent water changes for a while (I've heard this reduces the hormones and things fish release in the water to signal to each other, and can reduce aggression for angels- so why not for paradise fish too). Meanwhile, I've kept the 10g quarantine tank running in the basement, with snails and plants, so if it gets bad between them, I can move one fish out.
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post #19 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 02:58 AM Thread Starter
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They kept fighting. Lady continually kept Perry in the corner, if he ventured out to greet a human at the glass, or grab a bite of food, or surface for air, she zoomed over there and threatened him. My husband and I imagined what the fish might be thinking of the situation. I looked in the tank at him looking back at me and said

"What's the matter, Perry, are you okay? Is your new girlfriend being mean?"
Husband: "That's not my girlfriend."
Me: "What the hell is this? It was fine living next door, but I don't want to share her bedroom."
(No, I was never intending to breed them, if you're wondering.)

Once again I saw him spar with her, buffeting side by side, darting bites at each other. They both came away with more wounds. Lady now has injuries on her mouth, and two marks on her side.

Perry doesn't look as bad, but certainly is cowed.

Instead of putting her back in QT, I made a wall. Tank is now divided.

This is Lady's side-

And this is Perry's. Yes, I favored him, because she's the bully.

At first Perry would flee, tail low and pinched, when Lady zoomed at him from other side of the wall (they can see each other dimly through the mesh)

but once he realized she couldn't actually reach him, he seemed to relax

She's wearing much duller colors now, and no longer flaring her fins or making short, quick darting moves all over the tank.

He still often seems submissive when she tries to bite him through the barrier


and darts away when she threatens too much

She leaped over the first barrier I made, out of plastic canvas scraps stitched together. It wasn't stiff enough. I think she went over the top. I netted her back into her own side, went to the store, bought a new piece of plastic canvas, came home, caught her again and put her in a box of water while I removed suction cups from the first wall and fastened them to the new one. Also softened the suction cups first in hot water, because a few of them weren't holding well. New wall seems a lot stronger. Later I was really surprised to find Perry on her side. I guess he started to feel bolder since she couldn't bite him anymore, and wanting to defend his own space, got over the top? There was a quarter inch gap to the lid. I slid the barrier up all the way, and blocked the gap now across the bottom, with stones. It seems to hold. Haven't found anyone on the wrong side since.

(PS: the suction cups are actually clear/white. Not too noticeable when the tank is window-lit, but when I darken the background to get decent photos, they stand out. I masked over them roughly with photoshop just to avoid visual distraction in my pictures).
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post #20 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-20-2018, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Maybe I've been reading their body language or intentions wrong? This morning I found Perry on Lady's side again, cowering in a corner against the substrate. I netted him back to his own side, and blocked the bottom gap with another layer of stones (he'd pushed one aside). I wonder if he wants to mate, and she's just not having it.


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post #21 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 06:04 PM Thread Starter
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In the morning, Perry is on Lady's side again. In a corner, behind sweet potato roots, just under the surface. She doesn't seem to notice him. Is he sneaking in at night, hoping to avoid her wrath? I netted him back to his side and blocked the gap again- one small stone pushed aside. Maybe I should just leave him there if it happens again next morning, and she if she attacks or not. Maybe they're figuring it out.

I noticed he has a pale band across back, just behind the head. Alarmed it could be fungal, I dosed the tank with Kanaplex last night. Already this morning it was looking more normal color, his scales.


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Last edited by JJ09; 08-21-2018 at 09:05 PM. Reason: typo fix
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post #22 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-21-2018, 06:56 PM
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JJ09, this should be a Netflix series!!!
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post #23 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 11:14 PM
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Lol... so dramatic. Crazy fish! I hope you can figure something out for them. So they can both live stress free. Poor Perry.

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post #24 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-23-2018, 11:52 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah. Its upsetting. They're both really determined. Once again I found Lady on his side- chasing him. Today found Perry on hers- with his tail split and dorsal fin frayed. I cut another piece of plastic canvas and wedged it between the stones to block the gap. If that doesn't keep them out of each other's space, I'll have to move her into the ten gallon.

Perry's had two doses of Kanaplex, and I ran out. He's looking better- more normal color across top of his head, but still a bit of paleness. I am doing a wc tomorrow and if it still looks suspicious, might dose with another anti-fungal. I'm sure all the stirrings-up of substrate every time I try to re-block that gap in their wall isn't helping.


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post #25 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-25-2018, 06:17 PM Thread Starter
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I reinforced the wall between my paradise fishes. Wedged another piece of plastic canvas down between the row of stones, all the way to glass under substrate (which isn't deep). It seems to be holding. for two days now neither one has breached the wall. (They still keep trying, however).

I am surprised at how fast Perry has healed! I can't even tell now that two days ago his tail was split horizontally, forked almost all the way to the caudal peduncle. I was going to take a photo to show the damage Lady did to him, but it's hard to even see it now.

His dorsal which looked like a rooster's comb, is nearly healed up too. The pale band across his head is still there, but much fainter. I'm dosing the tank with Furan-2 now, to see if that helps it. A bit worried the tank will cycle again as following pkg instructions I removed the filter media (put it in a mesh bag and tucked into the tetra tank, so the bacteria won't all die) and left the airstones running. But it should bounce back quick, I think.


Lady herself seems fine. Her scales have healed and the nicks on her lip are almost gone.
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post #26 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 04:44 PM
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I always thought that paradise fish required a harem-type arrangement with one male and several females? I had a few growing up with different results. One was lovely albino male who was kept alone/with dither fish and did very well. The others were a male and several females as part of a 4ft community tank, originally at a 1:2 ratio but ended up being around 1:5 or so after a few years of breeding. The male would bully anything and everything, until he got older, when it seems that the females ganged up on him and finished him off. Can't blame them really.

Horror stories aside, I hope you can figure something out for them! It's a gorgeous tank and it's still early days for the pair.
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post #27 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 04:55 PM Thread Starter
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@Thelongsnail, yes, I think a harem situation would have more chance of success here. I'd much rather have two or three females, but this is the only one I've ever found for sale! so I wanted to try it, oh well. I'd heard of just a pair being kept, but maybe with more space or thicker plants than I have? They seem to have calmed down over the past few days, realizing they can't get through the wall anymore still display to each other but not as vigorously. I think Perry is not yet at mature size- having read the males are larger than females but he is still smaller than Lady.

Perhaps later on when he is the larger fish, I might give it another attempt, but I am doubtful they could live in peace. And if they did cohabit peacefully for a while, certainly after mating I'd have to separate the female again, when he became intent on guarding the fry? As I don't have any interest in raising baby fish, it doesn't seem worth the trouble to go through all that.

I am satisfied to have them each in their own little space, for now. I know the female is already three or maybe four years old, so she will reach the end of her life sooner, then I will remove the wall and Perry will have the run of the tank again.
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post #28 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 05:00 PM
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It's a shame it doesn't seem to have worked, but nothing ventured nothing gained and all that. You've also not had any major injuries or deaths, so I'd consider this a relatively successful experiment even though you didn't get the results you were hoping for.

By the way, how are you keeping your algae down? I've set up a window tank recently and it's an algae farm and a half already.
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post #29 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-26-2018, 05:41 PM Thread Starter
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It's a shame it doesn't seem to have worked, but nothing ventured nothing gained and all that. You've also not had any major injuries or deaths, so I'd consider this a relatively successful experiment even though you didn't get the results you were hoping for.
Thanks. I did think that, as they seem to heal really quickly and aren't actually killing each other- it would be natural to let them just fight and settle it. But I got very distressed seeing Perry cower in a corner for days on end, and then get his tail ripped in half. It has healed up completely now, so maybe that's not such a big deal for him!

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By the way, how are you keeping your algae down? I've set up a window tank recently and it's an algae farm and a half already.
The window doesn't get direct sun, except for a short time late afternoon in winter. I have two layers of plastic across the back of the tank, and one on the lower window pane itself- so three layers of translucent plastic reducing the light. On very bright days in summer I also sometimes close the curtain. I have one nerite snail (moving out soon however) and a handful of malaysian trumpet snails in there who do a good job of eating algae.

I sometimes get soft green algae growing on the tank wall nearest the window, and the vallisneria and anubias leaves. I can tell because the baby trumpet snails start to gather there, and when I rub the glass my thumb comes green. In middle of summer I clean the glass once a week, it wipes off easy.

I don't dose any fertilizers, the plants get all they need from my substrate and the fish waste- that probably helps too. (Although I do admit my plant selection is limited and not all of them look so great, that's the tradeoff).

I also have sweet potato vine growing in the back of the tank- to be swapped out for coleus cuttings in winter- which take up extra nutrients as far as I can tell. When I first tried using them, the week the new cuttings sprouted roots, nitrate levels in the tank dropped by 20ppm.

I am not sure which of the factors above is most helpful at keeping the algae at bay: limitations on light, limited nutrients, algae-eating critters, or nutrient-taking terrestrial plants? but since I do see algae showing up from time to time, I bet if one of those things suddenly changed, I'd see a lot more algae.
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post #30 of 172 (permalink) Old 08-27-2018, 05:50 PM
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Nice.
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