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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I recently moved, and it's time to start the tank journals. For background, I've moved to LA County for my first job post college (!!!!), and I'm excited to give aquascaping and fish breeding some serious tries. Here's what's happening currently:

pH after overnight degassing is around 7.00, and TDS is 175 (scary, right???). I need to ask housing if they use a water softener though. I know they use chlorine.

Petco sale is happening, but I don't get out of quarantine until next Monday. My boss is also a fish person so I'm debating asking him to pick up and hold the tank(s) for me. Also wondering if I should ask him for like, a cup of cat food for grindal worm cultures (I don't own a cat but he does, so like...?)

Right now I need to go over my stocking list and check to see if I have the right stocking listed for the current water parameters I have.
 

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Congrats on the position! Really cool to hear. What industry are you in that you moved out to LA? I live in OC but I work in the IE myself.

Are you familiar with your boss? I'd find it weird if a new employee just started asking me for personal favors.

I just snagged myself a 40B from the Petco sale. Like you, I'm planning on getting back into breeding just for fun. Right now I have some ricefish and CPD going. I'm probably going to do nano fish and some of the smaller rainbowfish. Although sourcing them is nigh impossible though because of demand...

Oh yeah, I also have a cat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Congrats on the position! Really cool to hear. What industry are you in that you moved out to LA? I live in OC but I work in the IE myself.

Are you familiar with your boss? I'd find it weird if a new employee just started asking me for personal favors.

I just snagged myself a 40B from the Petco sale. Like you, I'm planning on getting back into breeding just for fun. Right now I have some ricefish and CPD going. I'm probably going to do nano fish and some of the smaller rainbowfish. Although sourcing them is nigh impossible though because of demand...

Oh yeah, I also have a cat.
Thanks! I'm actually joining the fish import industry so going to be part of the hobby in a different way as well. I don't really know what OC and IE are though...

My boss and I are kinda like...well I've been incredibly patient and waited for him to hire me for like 6 months, so we kind of have a rapport? He was pretty cool with my requests, but mostly I was asking if he was willing to, not if he could do it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Update!

So I've been to Petco, which was having its $/gallon 50% off certain tanks sale, got myself a nice 20L, and we're gonna get started!

http://instagr.am/p/CMi7Zk6DmYk/
I've decided to use Instagram (and maybe YouTube as well) to see what I can do with that. Mostly as picture/video hosting sites, but we'll see what happens later down the line.

Right now, I'm running a lot of the plants I have through a fenbendazole treatment to prophylactically treat for hydra and planaria, as those are two hitchhikers that I don't want in my tank. They're currently sitting in 2 gallons of medicated water, and the equation goes as follows:

1 ppm = 1 mg [medication] / L [solvent]
The current dosage for treating hydra and planaria with fenbendazole is ~0.6 ppm.
The packets of fenbendazole I'm using are from Chewy, and they run at 250 mg fenbendazole/packet, which roughly comes out to 1.60 grams when emptied.

1ppm = 1 mg/L -> .6 ppm = .6 mg fenbendazole / 1 L water
1 gallon = 3785.41 mL
.6 mg fenbendazole/ 1000 mL water = x mg fenbendazole/3785.41 mL water -> x = ~2.27 mg fenbendazole
250 mg fenbendazole/1.6 grams powder = 2.27 mg fenbendazole / x grams powder -> x = .014 grams

Because my scale only goes to .01 grams, I doubled the recipe (so 2 gallons of water), and ended up with ~.029 grams powder needed, which rounded up to .03 grams powder. The less said about the white powdery stuff that I was measuring from a ziploc bag the better....

Ouch List [Prices may have changed]:
20L Aquarium: $25
Sponge Filter: $11
Heater: $19
Aquarium Light: $25

Weighing Scale: $14
Airline Tubing: $7
Air Pump: $18
Airline Splitter: $11
Aquarium Backing: $14
Fenbendazole: $20
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's been about a week, and I may have gone overboard.

http://instagr.am/p/CM5vP6zJdEJ/
The fish tank cycled fairly quickly, and I believe that it's because of all of the plants I ended up purchasing. Which meant that I was able to add in more stock! I'm excited to finally add in some more fish! And the best part was that I got to get a deal on all of the ones I purchased, which is really, really great (although not so great for my wallet).

I actually like buying blackworms and letting them sink into the substrate. They provide a good enrichment food for all worm eaters in the tank, AND they also help process waste in the tank. The one issue is that you can't really gravel vacuum the tank a lot until they're all gone, but that's not really an issue for me at the moment.

Another thing I like is Repashy. I first tried using it in college for a lab I was in, and the fish I was working with (northern Mexican swordtails) really took to it. I also like using it since Oto cats seem to thrive on this mix. Currently I'm feeding one cube of soilent green and one cube of spawn and grow a day.

Ouch List:
Cholla logs x3 - $10
Black cotton thread - $3.5
2x Anubias nana var. petite - $10
1x Melon sword (Echinodorus osiris) - $15
1x banana plant (Nymphaea sp.) - $5
10x pygmy corydoras (Corydoras pygmaeus) - $30
5x otocinclus catfish (Otocinclus sp.) - $15
1x portion of blackworms (Lumbriculus variegatus) - $3.5
6x amano shrimp - $24

1x Mini bloodworms SF Bay Brand - $5
Silicon molds for making Repashy - $9
Repashy Spawn and Grow - $10
Repashy Soilent Green - $20
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm finally almost finished with my build, and just have to wait on a few things to grow in.

http://instagr.am/p/CNJHIQqpAAJ/
I decided to wait a bit this week before buying any more fish. I'm still waiting on some lucky bamboo from Amazon to arrive, as well as some Azolla from an LFS. Some stem plants have been floating around in the water, so I went ahead and planted them today (fingers crossed that they'll survive). I was able to get in some pretty nice looking melastoma roots from Tannin Aquatics, which was really fun. I also got in some helix pods, guava leaves, and my favorite: Indian Almond Leaves.

I've been holding back on feeding Repashy this week since I had a small nitrite spike for some reason, which resulted in me doing a lot of water changes in order to get things under control. Another reason why I'm holding back on getting more fish at the moment. In the meantime, I'm adding one guava leaf and one indian almond leaf every week for lots of grazing opportunities.

I did finally bite the bullet and ordered some stuff from Brine Shrimp Direct, so I'm fully stocked and prepared to hatch out a ton of brine shrimp now! I also bought some golden pearls to feed the fish as well, since those are supposedly a good diet for smaller fish.

Ouch List
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
It's been a while, but I'm alive and that's what matters.

http://instagr.am/p/COWFmYiJ2ub/
I'm basically finished with stocking my tank plant wise. Got some neat floaters, my lucky bamboo in, and now I just need to wait for my stem plant to survive and start growing again so I can propagate it.

I was originally planning on buying featherfin rainbowfish for my 20L. I went to the LFS the other day, and saw some monster sized ones. The guy there said that those were full sized, and I just can't see fish that size doing well in my 20L. In a 40B yes, but not a 20L. So I had to revise. I've decided to go with a quartet of sparkling gouramis to replace the threadfins. I bought one today, but I'm waiting on the other three to arrive hopefully next week.

Now that I have floating plants, I feel much more confident overfeeding my tank. And by that I mean providing multiple small meals a day. It's time to start busting out the frozen food soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Just 1.5 more fish species to go until I'm fully stocked!

http://instagr.am/p/COof52BDN4v/
I got my hands on a school of chili rasboras! They're still not in mature colors yet, but they're still quite colorful! I also decided to nix an idea of getting Farlowella cats eventually. Saw some at the LFS, but they're just too big for a 20L. I just need another trio of sparkling gouramis, then it's time to hunt for that last species...

My banana plant finally developed leaves! I'm really happy about it now, because I wasn't certain about if the plant would survive. I'm going to have to monitor nitrates carefully now, and feed more/less as required, which is great. Part of it will be helped by my removing that giant clump of subwassertang and java moss (xmas moss?). I haven't decided on what I want to do with it just yet, but I'll probably move it to a shrimp tank. ALSO LOOK AT THE SWORD PLANT. He's so big now!!!!!! I wonder if I'll get emergent growth?

Now that I have chili rasboras, I've finally started feeding brine shrimp again! I love that it's so easy to hatch them. My only miff, is that the hatching container is so loud...and since my bed is like, 15 feet away, I've decided to start using earplugs to sleep at night. It's worth it though.

I do need to ask if somebody can ID the floating plants for me. I think they're a Phyllanthus species (aka red root floaters), but the roots aren't very...red. They're more long, which I like.

Ouch List:
Chili Rasboras - $30 for 10
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
How has it already been 8 weeks since I started this tank?

http://instagr.am/p/CO9OBUoDUmd/
I got that trio of sparkling gouramis I wanted! Funny story, so work's finally ramping up for me, and I was planning on going to the LFS on Friday. Work kept me till 4:50, and then I absolutely had to devour a sandwich (who knew pastrami was so good??), and since the commute is an hour, I missed the LFS closing...and then yesterday (Saturday), I had to go in for work again to finish up a job I needed to get done before tomorrow, and left at 4:30 this time. I made it to the LFS, and not only did they have the gouramis, but now they also have blackworms back in stock. So I ended up buying a trio of sparkling gouramis, and then a portion of blackworms (which, thank goodness).

Now, there's one more fish that I need to get. And one more plant.

I'm still learning about California as I go. I did a preliminary search last night, but I just don't know if it's legal to keep green cabomba (C. caroliniana) in this state or not. And, of course, it's hard to figure out where to search. Barring that, if I can't get cabomba, I'm going to try my hand at hornwort again. This time, I come prepared with knitting mesh! So I can do the whole "stand of bushy floating plants" thing that I just really enjoy.

As for the fish...that's a long story. Long story short, it's a pipefish. But not just any pipefish. I'm looking for a pipefish that looks like this one:

I know, I know, the title says "Doryichthys martensii care". But, now that I'm in Cali, there's like, a ton of freshwater pipefish in the hobby. Some of them look like Ctenolucius hujeta (freshwater barracudas), while others have waaaay too many dots on them. So the search is on, to find this one pipefish species, and grab a pair of them.
 

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In the US, banned plants get listed as "noxious weeds". Each state has their own list and there's a federal list that applies everywhere. Here's the page for California's noxious weed program: CDFA - Plant Health - Integrated Pest Control - Enncycloweedia

It has links to both the California list and the federal list and other info. Unfortunately you'll find Cabomba caroliniana on the California list.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've not heard of pipefish and they look very interesting. What are you going to do for their diet this time?
I'm more proficient at hatching baby brine shrimp nowadays/I have a better source instead of cheap weird hatching amazon ones, and I'm also going to be culturing a daphnia species (maybe moina? Maybe Ceriodaphnia?) as well.

In the US, banned plants get listed as "noxious weeds". Each state has their own list and there's a federal list that applies everywhere. Here's the page for California's noxious weed program: CDFA - Plant Health - Integrated Pest Control - Enncycloweedia

It has links to both the California list and the federal list and other info. Unfortunately you'll find Cabomba caroliniana on the California list.
Oh this is awesome, thanks!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Still alive, but realized that I haven't updated in a month. Oops? Big things (will update sometime this week probably)

1) I decided I disliked the scape. E. ozelot is a cool plant, but it just got too tall for a 20L. I have some E. parviflorus tropica coming in (thanks to @jake21 for the suggestions!) later this week. I also have some hornwort which I'll mount to make something like a hedge. I tore out the lucky bamboo because it turns out that I'm just way too hands on, and the bamboo made it difficult to catch fish. I may replace it with some sort of fern like Java fern mounted on cholla wood for easy removal. I also took out the driftwood as it just doesn't have the look I wanted. So basically the only things that are staying are the floating plants, banana lily (bc it's still awesome), and the weird little stem plant I have.

2) I lost at least one sparkling gourami and one pygmy corydoras. They don't appear to have been lost due to ich, but I am taking 0 chances here. I've evacuated all fish to the D. martensii quarantine tank and will be dosing Paraguard as a prophylactic measure. The main tank will lie fallow and be treated with alum (for snails) and fenbendazole (for hydra) during the fallow period. I recognize this is a nuclear option, but I have 0 space for snails in my tank, nor hydra.

3) on some good news, it is breeding season. While tearing down the tank, I realized that I was seeing fry(!!!!!!!!) in the tank that were obviously fish fry. I'm going to take them out tomorrow before I finish the tank tear down. Thankfully I have microworm and bbs cultures going. Subsequently after noticing that, the amano shrimp I had decided to hatch its eggs. I am happy to report that D. martensii pipefish will eat amano shrimp larvae, based off of snicking behavior.

4) I appear to have hitchhikers in my fish tank. I definitely am seeing harpacticoid copepods, as well as ostracods. Pity I'm not seeing any daphnia/moina....there's also one other hitchhiker that I can't identify. It's green (~1 cm long and 2-3 mm in diameter), and has barely visible whiskers similar to daphniid antennae that allow it to propel itself smoothly through the water. Any guesses? And no, it's not a hydra.
 
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