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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
So I recently moved and was planning on setting up a 40b at some point in the future, but due to a leaking tank (that actually ended up being a filter) I needed to set this up quickly. Its hopelessly out of order so Ill be trying to keep it all organized here.

As far as fish keeping goes, Ive been keeping tanks for around 4 or 5 years. I jumped in hard and fast, ending up with 15 different tanks in the first 2 years. Since this Ive settled down to 4 tanks. I tend to put everything together first haphazardly (and cheaply), then deal with the problems later, so I have a lot of gaps in my general basic knowledge of fish keeping. Im hoping this journal will help me learn some of the more basic info Ive passed over.

Granted this would have been better had I been able to start from the beginning and do everything in order, but whater, Im rolling with it :hihi:

Alright, here are the planned specs so far:
(This will be updated as the journal progresses)

Tank Specs:
Tetra 40 Gallon Breeder
Zoo Med AquaSun T5-HO Double Light Linear Fluorescent Hood
Marineland Penguin 350B
Aqueon 150 wat heater
Floramax Supbstrate (Red)

Fish (Current)
2x Bushfish (Ctenopoma acutirostre)
2x Red Splitfins (Xenotoca eiseni)
1x Mutt Swordtail (Xiphophorus hellerii)
10x Diamond Tetras (Moenkhausia pittieri)
1x Siamese Algae Eater (Chaetostoma formosae)

Italian Valls (Vallisneria spiralis)
Corkscrew Valls ((Vallisneria americana)
Anubias Barteri
Java Fern For Days (Microsorum pteropus)
Cryptocoryne Wendtii Red

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So a little more in depth information on my choices before I started posting about how my progress has been so far.

The tetra tank is because of the dollar per gallon sale, i originally wanted to buy a masters brand but couldnt justify the price difference. I found one that was decently put together so its acceptable.

The light I got it a trade for one of my old tanks so ive no idea if its actually what I need. I think its going to be too strong for what Im planning but the bulbs have individual power switches so if worse comes to worse, Ill run one or just cut down on the time its on.

Eco complete because it doesnt emit ammonia, since i had to throw this tank together, i didnt have time to wait for it to dissipate. seems like a good substrate from what ive read though.

The bush fish i have always loved and I already have 2 of them ready to go. Im going for 3 to lower aggression however. I have a pet store near me that sells them at 3 inches which is close to the ones i have so when i introduce them, im hoping for no fights but well see how it goes. The tank will be planned around them.

I went with diamond tetras because they are big enough to not be eaten and seem like the are peaceful and wont spook my bushfish. I also like how subdued they are and how they sparkle.

Im still open to other suggestions, like bottom dwelllers. I looked at panda garras and cories but i dont think they will be big enough. A Senegal bichir was also one of my choices but i worry about them ruining my plants.

All my plant choices are based off what I have from the trade where i got my light, an auction at a fish meeting and what im pulling out of my old tanks.


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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ok progress so far!
Its not been great :hihi:

I had the tank filled up with water but alas, my floor AND stand arent level so when there was about 3/4 of an inch difference between the sides

I ended up asking about how bad this would be in a different thread and found out it is indeed, very bad

so i have a new stand that i will be trying tonight hopefully and if that doesnt work out, ill move the tank though that is my last resort as i like the location of it now (basically set up my front room around it)

Im also looking into shims but it might be too drastic of an incline to work.

I need to figure out something soon though as i have fish stuffed into a 10 gallon that really shouldnt ever be in there and plants that need to be planted soon before they start melting so no pressure!

the good news is that i finally have enough money to buy the substrate so once i get the tank level, nothing is in my way!

Picture attached is of the hardscape as well as how bad the level is.
I may be throwing more driftwood in, i really like crowded tanks!


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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
So i have updated the specs on what equipment I have
I got my tax return and went to petsmart :hihi:

I also added new fish to put in the tank when its filled
i picked up a pair of red splitfins ((Xenotoca eiseni) and they are super pretty, i like them a lot

I also love this light so far though it sits funny on my tank but thats probably because my versa top isnt perfect

Next step is trying to figure out a way to level my tank so i can finally fill it and get this thing going!
Plants are still holding on but im worried they wont for much longer.

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I finally have my tank set up!

Im still not sure on the substrate, its a bit lighter than i would have liked and its pretty rough but I wouldnt be able to have cories anyways with the bush fish so thats not too big of a deal.

Overall the tank is pretty rough looking, a lot of the plants were floating or in bags for over a week and Im still waiting on stuff to grow in, like all the valls in the back

Enough of my chatting though, i know pictures are what people come for ;D

Starting off, I had my two helpers
they are terrible and were under foot the whole time and are the reason i have 2 giant cracks in my versa top :help:
Cat Photograph White Light Felidae

Here is the tank with all the substrate and the wood. I had a lot of the wood from other tanks so they had plants attached already. Flora max is FILTHY by the way. My tank was literally mud but it comes with a water clarifier that cleared everything up in about an hour so that was impressive.
Plant Wood Pet supply Terrestrial plant Grass

Here is the final FTS
Still have some issues, but its a good start :hihi:
Ill probably be moving some stuff around when i get some growth. A lot of the plants need to perk up towards the light as well so hopefully that will make it look nicer soon (Also i still need to peel that dang label off the front of the glass)
Plant Vertebrate Green Water Botany

Some close ups
Left side:
Plant Terrestrial plant Wood Aquatic plant Grass

and right side:
Plant Terrestrial plant Wood Twig Trunk

and bonus picture:
1 of 2 bushfish i have right now, I still need to buy one more
This one is Rorschach
Vertebrate Plant Organism Underwater Terrestrial plant

I have so many plants left over, like 4 full sized anubias, a matt of java ferns and some other odds and ends
Ill probably be redoing a few of my other tanks with them :hihi:

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Added a few more fish tonight. Now in are 3 koi swordtails and a pretty mutt swordtail. They seem to be settling in nicely.

Also now that everything is cleared pup water wise, I think I'll be moving the 2 big crypts on each side of the tank to the middle. Hopefully that will even out the look of the tank.


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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I have more updates
I ended up picking up some congo tetras for my tank and overall, im just not impressed with them. I'll probably be trading them back in. I did pick up some diamond tetras and they look stunning so Ill be making that my main school. Theyre the correct size for my tank anyways.

Currently, my tank is covered in diatoms and looks terrible. I dont have a FTS right now but also have a bit a crypt melt that isnt as bad as i thought it would be. My anubias is looking really rough though so I may end up taking it out for something else

I now have all 3 of my bush fish, the new one has some weird notched in his operculums, its really weird. I thought it was an injury at first but they are on bother sides and symetrical. Ive noticed that hes picking on Rorchach a bit so it this continues, Ill be taking him back. I think Stig is a female and Rorchach is a boy so thats neat. They are near inseparable while the other unnamed one does his own thing.

Im unhappy with the livebearers in general. The koi swords look horribly garish against the red substrate and they are FILTHY. I will probably be setting up a 20 long to put them in and scooping out the fry for the bush fish.
The split fins are picking on my congos tails so Im not sure what ill be doing with them. Its just the congos though, they leave the bush fish and diamonds alone so i may just keep them in that tank. They look really nice in there.

I bought 40 ghost shrimp and dumped them in the tank for the bush fish to hunt and they went nuts. Its really interesting to watch them hunt. They curl up and hover in circles around the shrimp for forever then gear up for the strike and.... miss :haha:
They arent very good at getting them with the lights off but are masters at hunting at night. I couldnt find any shrimp other than 3 or 4 massive ones that were too big for them after a few days.
I took a bunch of pictures while they were hunting to share!

Here is Rorschach and Stig
Plant Leaf Botany Organism Terrestrial plant

Stig and Rorschach again
Plant Terrestrial plant Reptile Aquatic plant Wood

My favorite picture. The new bushfish with a ghost shrimp in his mouth
Plant Water Fish Terrestrial plant Terrestrial animal

Rorschach hunting a shrimp almost as big as he is :hihi:
Wood Grass Terrestrial plant Terrestrial animal Landscape

the congo tetras right after I put them in
Plant Leaf Branch Organism Wood

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Small update with no pictures D:

Ill be getting 8 diamond tetras to replace the congo tetras who I am still trying to find a home for. Im also getting rid of the koi swords
Im looking into getting a BN Pleco to clear off the massive amount of diatoms I have but still not sure if I want to deal with all the poo, if panda garra work then I want those instead

So hopefully my stocking next week will be:
3 bush fish
14 diamonds
Bottom dweller

Keeping it simple X)

also looking for more plants, particularly a foreground plant
will probably go with dwarf sag, i have good luck with that

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another update, with 1 picture this time!

I ended up giving the congos and the koi swordtails back to my lfs
I kept the male mutt sword because hes really pretty though

While I was there I ended up buying 4 more diamond tetras to bring my school to 10 total. Ill stop there for now. My males have gotten really stunning, such an underrated fish.

I am having a heck of a time with diatoms and wanted to get an algae eater at some point so while I was at the store I ended up buying a rubberlip pleco. We'll see if he eats any of the diatoms. Im not sure if hell be in there permanently but he looks neat nonetheless

Plant wise, not much has changed. My vals havent picked up which worries me but I dont think theyve settled in yet.
My pennywort ended up too covered in diatoms so i threw it in one of my other tanks to see if I could salvage it.
I took to scrubbing my anubias leaves too since they had it the worst and saw a new leaf! Its nice seeing there is something growing in my tank since everything else feels like its at a standstill.

Picture after I scrubbed the diatoms off everything
The waters a lot clearer now thats it settled.
Water Plant Pet supply Organism Terrestrial plant

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144 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
wow its been awhile since ive posted

Still having a problem with brown algae but ive been using only 1 bulb lately and it seems to be helping a lot.

My tank has definitely filled in, both because of the plants growing and me stuffing more plants in when i can. Vals arent doing great still, not sure why. Im about ready to pull them all up though

Also added some dwarf sag. Im tired of the substrate color so im hoping i can get a carpet going to cover it up :haha:

Stock wise I lost one of my bush fish, Third. He kept getting skinnier and skinnier and wasnt responding to anything I was doing.
Rubberlip passed too but I think it was sick from the store since it only lasted a week. I replaced him with a Siamese algae eater ive had for over 2 years

Other than that, no changes but Ive been leaning towards adding a small school of fish that have a bit of color. All the fish in there are really subtle so nothing in the tank pops and since its the centerpiece of my living room, it definitely needs something, Im just not sure what

crappy picture attached, it actually looks a lot nicer than this X)


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