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Great pics! Next fad coming to town are ramshorn snail hats and your crayfish has the first I've seen.
 
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Was it Chris Lukhaup by any chance? He has a crayfish Facebook group and occasionally comes to America just to snorkel for crayfish and shrimp in the rivers and streams here.

There are some really crazy looking crayfish that frankly SHOULD be in the hobby but just are not. Crayfish are super cool but are generally considered a specialized sub genre for the hobby. Watching this guy's behavior and how he interacts with the tank is super interesting for me in large part because he is so completely different than any other critter I have kept before. A weird mix of hyper aggressive and frightfully shy when surprised.

You reminded me I really needed to subscribe to that magazine, I went ahead and gifted myself a subscription :)
Amazonas Magazine September/October 2020

Interview — A visit with crayfish breeder Markus Güsgen by Ute Dederer and Friedrich Bitter

Sorry it took me awhile to find the article. They do sell their back issues as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Amazonas Magazine September/October 2020

Interview — A visit with crayfish breeder Markus Güsgen by Ute Dederer and Friedrich Bitter

Sorry it took me awhile to find the article. They do sell their back issues as well.
Nice! I just got my first issue in the mail. I'll have to look up that back issue. Considering that I spend hours a day reading about fish online, I'm surprised it took me this long to get a subscription.
 

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Discussion Starter · #45 ·
For weeks Mr. Pinch would hang out only in his cave and the beach area in front of the tank. Occasionally he would venture into the plants but rarely, and never on the woodwork. For whatever reason a switch has been flipped this past week and he is exploring everything now.



Plants have seen better days sadly. It's not really Mr. Pinch either. I discovered that my micros and macros went dry on me (ran out) and I didn't notice for at least a week or so. I was also out of my dry micros as well and needed to order more. I did so and this time went with Miller's microplex instead of the usual pps-pro formula, mostly just to try something different. The plants are responding and I'm seeing them starting to recover, but its ugly-ville for a few weeks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #47 ·
It's a good sign that he hasn't started to destroy plants.

Cray antics kind of remind me of small salt water gobies for some reason. I think it's a combination of the sass and their territorial nature.
He is so very territorial as well. When I walk in he greets me claws up, not quite charging the glass, but also not exactly welcoming either :p What I'm most surprised about is how well the snails are doing in this tank. I dropped a handful in when I first set this tank up, mostly just for maintenance purposes. But I honestly thought the crayfish would eat them all. And he has in fact eaten a few, but he also clearly does not prefer them as he will literally pick up food he does want skirting around the snails sitting right next to him the whole time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 · (Edited)
Update:

It was water change day (a bit delayed from my usual) and I thought I would take some pictures and update folks. This tank how has 2 new inhabitants, or 2 new types of inhabitants. The first are 2 rabbit snails. I've been quietly trying to keep rabbit snails for a few months now. I say trying because I ordered specific snails several times from the only person I could find selling them online and they kept dying on me. It took me a while to figure out that most of my tanks are simply too cold for them. I just assumed they would be fine if the water temperature was in the 60s. Apparently not.... it didn't matter how hard or soft the water was, they kept dying at that temperature. But in the 70s and they were fine. I actually don't have many tanks that temperature anymore so they ended up in this tank and are doing great. The crayfish treats them essentially as furniture.

It's also possible the place I was buying from were just giving me sick snails since they were all wild caught. These fellows (which I am also assuming are wild caught) are from petco.



The other inhabitants are cherry barbs! The Wife requested some nice red fish to swim in this tank and frankly, I've always wanted to keep them. They were sold to me as veil tail cherry barbs, so they have a little bit of extra fin. Overall I'm quite happy with them.

I went ahead and got them because Mr. Pinch (now strongly believed to actually be Ms. Pinch) has left my remaining fish alone in this tank for a couple of months. I think she realizes the food I give her is quite plentiful and there is no reason to go on a murder spree. Here is how everything looks now:



You can't see it, but I also changed up the vallisneria in the back. Or rather I changed up some of it. I ripped up a dozen or two torta, and replaced them with 2 plants of vallisneria jungle. I bought them from an online store and honestly expected to get more then 2 plants because I bought 2 pots. In the past vallisneria has been sold in bunches. But they really did just give me 1 plant per pot. They were not cheap either sooooooo guess I won't be buying from them again.
 

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It's also possible the place I was buying from were just giving me sick snails since they were all wild caught.
Sadly, that's probably likely. It's rare to find these in good health at a reasonable price lately.

I've only ever successfully kept them in my Sulawesi tanks. The heat makes a huge difference in their success. I think they do much better in hard water, for sure, but they should be fine in your tank's parameters with heat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #53 ·
Sadly, that's probably likely. It's rare to find these in good health at a reasonable price lately.

I've only ever successfully kept them in my Sulawesi tanks. The heat makes a huge difference in their success. I think they do much better in hard water, for sure, but they should be fine in your tank's parameters with heat.
Yeah, they seem extremely temperamental, but they look so nifty I don't mind making the extra effort. Hopefully I can get some tank bred ones into the hobby that will be more healthy but only time will tell.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
I was at a local fish store today and I couldn't resist getting some Nothobranchus rachovii (killifish) they had in stock. I don't think I had ever seen these guys in person before and I immediately understood why people go nuts for killifish. That plus getting a new macro lens (sigma 105 macro) was enough to spawn a photoshoot:









 

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Wow. Honestly, that cray is unreal gorgeous up close. Appears to be absolutely thriving.

Any other shots of your new Killifish? I love them. And the close-ups of your substrate - it = goals. Looks better with each photo you post of it as the tank ages and it already looked great to begin with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
Wow. Honestly, that cray is unreal gorgeous up close. Appears to be absolutely thriving.

Any other shots of your new Killifish? I love them. And the close-ups of your substrate - it = goals. Looks better with each photo you post of it as the tank ages and it already looked great to begin with.
Thanky!

No other shots of the new killifish yet, but there definitely will be in the days to come. This new lens is absolutely addicting. What was once a difficult to impossible shot can be accomplished in a matter of seconds.

I have spent a lot of time looking at streams when hiking and every time I do a tank I think I get better at replicating what streams do naturally as far as substrate is concerned.

One thing this lens is not doing my any favors on is algae :p I've said a few times in the past that it's impossible to control all algae growth in a tank. And it's true. Instead I think of algae control measured in distance from the tank. 10 feet away and no algae visible is a pretty low bar to reach. 4 feet is more reasonable bar. 1 foot away and no algae visible is what most people think of when they think of no algae being present in the tank. Well this macro lens as addicting as it is, puts in place a new level... 1cm away and there's a ton of algae visible in these tanks :p
 

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One thing this lens is not doing my any favors on is algae
I tend to be of the camp that enjoys algae in the right amounts and right types. Algae on surfaces like rocks that make them look aged? Awesome. Some on sand/gravel in random spots but nothing out-of-control? Even better. Some of the most stunning tanks I've ever seen have been hillstream setups with aufwuchs galore for loaches and Stiphodon semoni. The kind of tanks with lots of rounded boulders with spotty, dusty algae at the top.

There's algae in nature and I think a lot of us just get hung up on it. I certainly do in some setups. In others, you just kind of have to accept that it's going to be present in some areas.
 

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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
Update:

This tank has had some weird challenges. I think it's essentially been nutrient deprived. The Vallisneria torta in this tank never grew very tall. All of it less then 6 inches off of the substrate which really shocked me. I thought for sure that stuff would just consume the whole back of the tank (which was the point). But it really didn't. My h. pinnatifida had an initial burst of doing awesome, then has more or less done nothing since. I am guessing that my pps-pro dosing method is not as appreciated in this tank as it is in my 120p tank.

So I've decided to switch things up. First step was removing all the vallisneria torta. Here is what it looked like before I removed it:



Then I planted a total of 8 jungle vallisneria plants in the back. 2 came from male order and another 6 came from a local fish store. Hopefully those guys take off and fill the back with nice long vallisneria leaves.

Shortly after doing the replanting and a water change I added a few pumps of Thrive. So this tank is getting both EL and PPS-PRO dosing for a little bit :p Then I got distracted with more macro shots:









And full tank shot:

 
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