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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-07-2017, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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Looking for new things to do

Ok so here's the tank details before anything.

Tank specs: 15 gal tall, freshwater low tech, hang on filter with sponge media. Cobalt submerged heater set at 82. And LED light strip. (Unsure light output)

In the tank: 4 neons (had five but one disappeared) 1 Male dragonscale betta, 3 kuhli loaches. Sand substrate with a single piece of Malaysian driftwood. 3 Amazon sword, a bunch of dwarf sag, and salvinia minima floating.

Stats: the tank has held these parameters for the last 6 months

PH 7.0

Ammonia 0

NO2 0

NO3 mg/l

Phos .25 mg/l

Ok so now that's out of the way. I would like opinions or suggestions or adding or changing things around. I'll put pictures below. I want to liven things up a bit as this look is getting a little blag for me. I would really like to avoid adding co injection as I don't have a lot of space for that kind of set up yet. Fire away I'm open to most anything.



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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 03:28 PM
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Depends on what YOU may want?
More movement/activity from fish? Add something bright. Want to avoid big expense while getting the feet wet a bit? How about several of the smaller cheaper live bearers. Platy is one that I've fallen into having and now after all the other stuff I've done, I'm finding them fun in a super easy way. Orange and black with lots of moving and also breeding leaves lots of really tiny little folks so they need shelter which can lead into more entertaining things to do if it suits.
Wood and rocks are almost universally available and cheap as in "free" if you are willing to do the work. Go for a hike, know what to look for and where and choose the type which works best and suits your taste. That can lead to more fun!
wood and rocks are easy but I like less harsh look so like to cover them in smallish plants like Java fern and Java moss. Cheap, easy grow stuff that takes little to live but can lead you into far more intense things if you let them!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 06:00 PM Thread Starter
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Platy? Also rocks would be interesting. Where should I look for good ones to use? River beds? Lakes? Or will any rocks work. What do I need to do to make them safe to put in the tank. I'm really open to any suggestions. Flora, fauna, aquascape, etc. I'm open to taking the neons out but not the betta or loaches.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 08:05 PM
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I mention platy just because they are a fish that I pretty much ignored for lots of years but then got some and I am really liking them as a "no-stress" item.
https://www.thespruce.com/platy-types-1381066
Rocks are so often overlooked for such an easy item. Rocks are pretty safe but what may be on the rock can be a problem at times. Things like too much dirt are easy to see and we wash that off but then there may be oil, pesticides or just "something" on the rocks so whether it is wood or rock, I just run them through the same process I would my dishes. I want them clean and sterile, even if I can't see anything on them.
The easy way to do that is a bleach soak as it is simple, easy and safe. Most of the time you just have to ignore all those folks who tell you they have never done it because it isn't safe! I always have to ask how they know it isn't safe if they have not tried it???? Usually they have all kinds of things they have read about on the internet.
But the easy way to make stuff safe to use is the same way tap water is made safe to drink. We add chlorine and let it set for a bit.
Simple? Fill any container with enough to cover the stuff soaking. Add whatever amount of cheap, unscented, uncolored, liquid bleach you can get cheapest. In my case I borrow some from my wife! But it's about $2 a gallon or so and we only need a couple tablespoons or 1/2 cup if it is bigger. We can't say how much is needed because we don't know how much organic stuff we need to react with it. If it's a two foot long log, I use a 1/2 cup but if it is a microscopic bacteria on a rock, tap water may be enough!
Let it set for 6-8 hours or until we get back to the job, rinse it to dilute the bleach down to close to tap water and then let it dry. Let it soak long enough to be sure it penetrates into all the little nooks and crannies on the item. If it's been bobbing around in a ship channel full of oil for long, I want to be sure it gets all of that . When it is done drying, we won't be able to smell chlorine and it is good to use.
The only difference in river rocks that are round and rocks on the land is that some have washed off the hills and been rolling around in the water long enough to wear down to rounded shapes. Same stuff inside.
Neat thing about rocks or wood is that they can let us build shapes and cover them by super gluing on plants like Java fern, etc. to build interesting forms that we can't get with plants alone.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-08-2017, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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What about thoughts on shrimp? Also I would really try and achieve some sort of dense growth. Is that possible with my current set up? Are there any colorful low tech plants that I can add

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-09-2017, 12:13 AM
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Dense growth? Want it simple? How do you feel about cheating the game a bit?
One way to make it look dense is to use something simple like Java fern, glued to small (1"? ) stones. Get a bunch and drop them in but then move them all together. One could wait and let them grow and spread out together but if you want a quicker "dense" it works to leave them kind of portable and move them so they wind up dense. After they do then eventually grow, they tend to just make a pile.
I deal with African cichlids and one way to avoid just having the required pile of rocks is to glue Java fern on the top, thick enough to hide the rockpile. the fish get the cover they need and want and I get to have the green I want.
No real help on colors nor shrimp. I'm more of a fish guy with plants than a plant guy. Lots of the other folks should have far better info on both of those. Possible it takes a bit of high light to get really nice colors but that may be missing lots of plants that I've never worked.
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