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Johnson 18's Tank Rack! Several Species!

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This journal will document the building and the keeping of my killifish tanks. While I hope to successfully breed these colorful little fish, I don't want tanks that are set up strictly for breeding. Many people keep Killifish in tiny tanks for breeding, like 2.5 gallons or less(think the little boxes sold for hermit crabs and such), often stuffed full of sphagnum moss or peat, along with no substrate and lights.

While I want these low lech, I don't want them quite that low lech! I will go through and list my thoughts about how I'm planning to set these up. I'm starting with two tanks and may expand from there.

I've never kept killifish, so if you have, PLEASE let me know if I'm messing up!! I'm absolutely alright with more experienced people offering me advice or saying "hey, you're doing this wrong, idiot!!"

EDIT: I've had a lot of questions about Killifish, which I think is absolutely fantastic! I love that this seems to have sparked interest in many people. Unfortunately, I am definitely still learning about these little fish. I will try to answer any and all questions of course! I have also found that the Killifish people are super organized! I would recommend that anyone wanting to learn more about Killifish should check out the American Killifish Association's website. They've got a ton of information, including killifish basics, beginner info, along with good beginner fish recommendations! I'm seriously impressed with these folks, hell, I might even join eventually! hahaha.
END EDIT.

The Killifish: I'm starting with two species of killifish, both are considered to be "easy" killis. I bought both of these species at an auction last weekend where there were at least a hundred of different types of killifish. The two I'm starting with are both non-annual Killifish. I believe both species are plant spawners, so I can leave eggs in the tank versus drying the out and aging before being able to hatch.

The first species is a trio, 1 male and 2 females, of Aphyosemion australe Cap Estrias BSWG 97-24. This is a small species from Gabon, and one of the few Killifish with a common name, the Lyretail Killifish. It's a gorgeous little fish, overall orange with a number of different colors mixed into its patterns! I'm planning to get at least one more trio, if I can, from the same person who donates them to the auction. This trio has proved quite hard to take a picture of as they never stop moving!

I stole this first image off Flickr, it's a lovely little pair.


The second species I have is two pairs of Aphyosemion cinnamomeum Kurume APL 13-35. This species is from Cameroon & gets a bit larger, like 6cm. (Haha!) This is mostly a purple color, with a bright yellow crescent shape in the tail. These fish are currently in my 55 gallon shrimp tank & they need to be moved out asap! While I haven't seen them eating the shrimp, I'm sure the shrimp are at least getting picked on as they're hiding constantly!

This first image is from the interwebs, the rest are in my 55. These fish have been getting more color every day!



The males just a day or two after getting them. They're colors have gotten better but you can start to see the yellow on the fins.



Females:





Tanks: I'm debating back and forth between a pair of 5 gallon tanks or 10 gallons. The 5's are almost certainly large enough, but a 10 gallon tank gives me more wiggle room as far as the water conditions go. I can grow more plants in a 10 gallon tank. As far as dimensions, I've got room for either one & there's no real advantage(room wise) to going smaller(I don't think...) I don't currently have 5s, but I've only got one derimmed 10, so I'm gonna have to buy tanks either way. If you can't tell, I'm leaning towards using 10 gallon tanks.

Filtration: air driven sponge filters! I've already got some of the dual sponge filters. Just picked up an air pump yesterday, it's the same one I use to power the same filters in my 20L Apisto tank. I've got two in that tank & will just be putting one in each of these tanks.

Heaters: idk. The kinds that warm up cold water. Hahaha.

Lights: I've got a variety of lights I could use probably including the clip-on cfl domes for Home Depot, as well as a couple 18" BML Dutch(12in board) with the adjustment knobs to turn them up and down.

Substrate: As I'm mostly just wanting to go low tech, crammed with lots of Crypts, other easy root feeders, & moss, I believe I may go with MGOPM mixed with something to increase the CEC and capped with Black Diamond Blasting Sand. If I get any species that are substrate spawners this will change so that the substrate and eggs can be removed, dried & aged before being rewetted when it is time for the eggs to hatch.

Plants: The plan is to put in lots of heavy root feeders: lots of Cryptocorynes, maybe some of the smaller swords, and probably not any sort of actual carpet plants. It's possible I might give MM a try as a carpet in one. Idk, though. I've got a wide variety of plants so we'll see what ends up in these tanks! I'm going to try and pack them fairly full.


I know this is long AF! If you've made it this far, THANK YOU!! Please let me know what you think of my plan! I'm open to ideas or suggestions! The tanks will hopefully be started today! If not, well, it might be sometime this week.



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Discussion Starter · #81 ·
I just made a deal to trade a friend an old 40 breeder that I was given for his 25 gallon 24” x 24” x 11” tank. Pretty stoked about this tank. It’s gonna be fairly low tech, lots of manzanita, moss & Anubias, Crypts, & such. 100% chance that the tank will be a shrimp tank! I’m thinking it will be some sort of Caridina species! Hmmm.... I love the planning of tanks!


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Discussion Starter · #82 ·
Have you have any Gertrude fry make it to adulthood yet??

I haven’t even tried to breed my Gertrude’s yet. I finally took my own advice yesterday while cleaning up my 20L. There was a ball of subwassertang that had seriously taken over like a quarter of the tank, one while end. Plus there were little bits of it spread all throughout the tank. It was caught on all the other plants, growing on the substrate, the drift wood and filters! I picked out every small piece I could find and then pulled out most of the mass, leaving a small ball maybe the size of my fist in the tank. The rest of it went straight into the 5.5 with the Gertrude’s and Okefenokee Sunfish. The mass of subwassertang that I pulled out of the 20L occupies more than half of the 5.5!! The Gertrude’s immediately began breeding! They were breeding like crazy this morning! I really need to fix up a tank for the Okefenokee Pygmy Sunfish to live in on their own. I’m buying all of the subwassertang I can at the January club meetings! [emoji23][emoji23][emoji23]



Ugh. So many projects, so little time and energy! I’ve gotta decide what to focus on & what to set aside for now!

I’ve added three more RCS to the rock 10g

Apistogramma erythrura male






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Does the subwassertang grow like moss?? Like attach to wood and stuff?? I want to see some in person. Is it moss-like? It looks kind of like thick wavy noodles, but if it's super small that's ok. Like could someone mistake it for moss-like?
The moss in my tanks is a mess of java moss, Christmas moss, flame moss, and maybe some other stuff. It gets lots of green hair algae and doesn't look that good.
I counted 4 or 5 little fry when I left. I expected more to hatch... got home and I can only find 1 larger one..
I hope it's a male. I will call him Highlander... since there can be only one
 

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Discussion Starter · #84 ·
@The Dude1
Subwassertang will attach to wood & such like moss. It definitely isn’t easily mistaken for a moss, at least in my opinion. Just has a different texture. I really like using it in tanks. It’s growth size depends a lot on the light it receives. In high light it’s little “waves” are smaller & the opposite is true for low light. I don’t have a super bad issue with hair algae attaching to it, like I do with moss(&and stem plants, & Swords, & Crypts, & just about anything in my 20L...) The growth for attaching to things is very slow. When I try to attach it to wood it doesn’t work, so I pretty much just toss it in the area I want it & let it do its thing. I think if you really, really wanted it on a driftwood for a specific scape, the paint on yogurt dry start method would be the best way to go. Actually I might do that for one of these upcoming tanks. I love the stuff though. I’ve got it in several tanks. Honestly, if you wanna PM me your address, I’ll send you some.


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Discussion Starter · #85 ·
Emptied my shelf of driftwood to play with hardscapes for the 20H tanks. I’ve been slowly building up a stash Malaysian driftwood for several months, buying a few pieces at a time. I still don’t think I have enough to make multiple fantastic looking scapes. Trying to make two good looking scapes is difficult, I think it is workable though. The more I think about it, I’m not sure I really need to focus on making great looking aquascape for these tanks. I want them to be functional in that the pairs of Apistos should be comfortable. I will be using aquatic botanicals in these tanks as well. Lots of seed pods and leaf litter.

Here’s one that I quickly threw together.


The tanks that I will use Amazonia in will be more heavily planted than the ones that are just Black Diamond Blasting Sand. A couple days ago I picked up 100 pounds of BDBS. I’ve been trying to decide how I want to plant the tanks. Do I want to stick with a biotope-ish theme or do I wanna use other simple plants like Crypts, moss & ferns? Obviously, with multiple tanks it wouldn’t be difficult to go both ways using separate tanks.

Decided to do a little advanced prep. Took 8 of the Colbalt Apisto Huts and wrapped them in peacock moss. I left a bunch of the moss still in the 55 to continue growing out. On one hut I tied a few small windlov ferns on top of the moss, just to see how it would look, I’m not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I found those specific ceramic caves for sale for $4.00 each which is a big difference from the $6-8.99 I had paid for the first few I bought. I purchased all 10 that were available at that price and got free shipping. 1 was broken in transport & was refunded without returning it. I will probably make the broken one work for something else like the Okefenokee tank.





I’ve noticed that Petco has their older pro line heaters on sale. I might but several as heaters is one thing I’m always short on!


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Discussion Starter · #86 ·
So along with the order of the wild caught pair of Apistogramma atahualpa from Peru, I ordered a pair of Biotoecus opercularis. These little cichlids have a very subtle beauty to them. I had been debating getting some checkerboard cichlids, but these really caught my eye. Looking forward to getting these fish in! Gonna get the 20s set up tomorrow.


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I'm excited to see them!! Could you take a pic of the Gertude tank? I'd like to do something with mine so I'm planning out plant purchases. Do you think a maybe like 5" x 5" section of subwassertang on the substrate would be adequate for eggs and then some driftwood branches covered in maybe Christmas moss reaching to the surface would work?? You are already feeding your Gertrudes BBS right? I'm excited to see your results. I'd love to have some better aesthetics in the tanks and if I'm changing it I might as well make it how I want right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #88 ·
I'm excited to see them!! Could you take a pic of the Gertude tank? I'd like to do something with mine so I'm planning out plant purchases. Do you think a maybe like 5" x 5" section of subwassertang on the substrate would be adequate for eggs and then some driftwood branches covered in maybe Christmas moss reaching to the surface would work?? You are already feeding your Gertrudes BBS right? I'm excited to see your results. I'd love to have some better aesthetics in the tanks and if I'm changing it I might as well make it how I want right?


My Gertrude tank is the semi-blackwater tank pictured about with the subwassertang in it. the damn thing is some leaf litter, a few seed pod caves, one anubias and that mass of subwassertang. Honestly, it and my 5.5g killie tank are the only two that are not somewhat scaped. I figured breeding would be a priority so why mess with a scape, but breeding obviously didn't happen(yet)...

@The Dude1 throwing in an edit here for you!










I'm still of the mind set that unless you're going to focus on breeding, with spawning mops and such, the tank should be as HEAVILY planted as possible. I do love Christmas Moss though! The BBS kind of fell by the wayside during the last couple weeks of school and finals, and I haven't resumed. Definitely need too.



In the end, you are the one that has to look at your tanks on a daily basis which means that you should make you tanks how you want them to look.


On a side note: today I got to pick up some fish that will end up on this rack!! A pair of Peruvian wild caught Apistogramma atahualpa ‘Sunset’ and a pair of Biotoecus opercularis. I’m super excited about both of these species! I think one of them may end up staying the 20L(where they both currently are residing), although I can’t decide which one. Obviously, the original goal for the 20H tanks was for Apistos but I couldn’t resist. I know the wild caught fish will definitely do better in a 20H, but idk if the Biotoecus will fair better one way or the other. Does anyone have experience with them? Doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of info published on the web, other than some posts on forums, like the Apisto forum. Here’s a crappy pic of them

 

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Discussion Starter · #89 ·
Some of these tanks(probably the smaller ones) will be broken down or moved over the next couple months. I was in the planning stage of building a 50g vivarium using one of the tanks I’ve already got but a different opportunity came up. I made arrangements to pick up a tank from a buddy in Phoenix this weekend. It’s a custom built 120g ter/viv/pal tank. He had it built specifically for a vivarium so it uses 1/4” glass, which obviously won’t hold the weight of a tank full of water. The dimensions are 48”x24”x24”. I will be building a vivarium in the tank using a custom live background. I’ve already ordered 3 cans of Great Stuff Pond and Stone & a tube of black silicone. I’ll need more now. I’m looking into poison dart frogs, or maybe some fish, but I may skip livestock all together. This tank is large enough that I’m a little intimidated as my first vivarium by the planning and build. Due to this I will be quite focused on the planning stages of this build. I’m super excited by the whole thing! The variety of plants available for use in a vivarium is so huge that I can’t wait to start collecting them! Actually, I’ve already ordered a few that I will start growing out in my emersed tanks. As the planning stages get a little further along I will start a thread specifically for the tank.


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I had a 46 gallon bowfront that I covered into a paludarium with azureus dart frogs (blue and black ones). It was a journey. Like starting off with your first java fern in your 10 gallon Betta tank. If you can swing it, do a mist king system from the start. It was tough.. some plants died and came back.. others just died.. some worked in one area, but no where else for some inexplicable reason. My only suggestion is don't reinvent the wheel upon start up. Start with plants that have a high likelihood of success by what you have seen others do... not by what you think should happen. Java moss is great for ground type areas (But the PDF's don't like walking on it) where as Christmas moss is great some vertical areas that stay damp. DEFINATELY post a detailed journal. I'm getting into terrariums/paludariums again. Ive got a little bowl that I'm trying to grow some terrestrial mosses (That I collected in NC) in and make something for the dining room table. Not having much luck so I may go to java moss.
Those pencilfish come in? You haven't posted pics yet. Maybe you could include some shots of your emersed grow outs? I'm having a hell of a time since I take them outside for light, but then the mid day heat cooks them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #91 ·
I had a 46 gallon bowfront that I covered into a paludarium with azureus dart frogs (blue and black ones). It was a journey. Like starting off with your first java fern in your 10 gallon Betta tank. If you can swing it, do a mist king system from the start. It was tough.. some plants died and came back.. others just died.. some worked in one area, but no where else for some inexplicable reason. My only suggestion is don't reinvent the wheel upon start up. Start with plants that have a high likelihood of success by what you have seen others do... not by what you think should happen. Java moss is great for ground type areas (But the PDF's don't like walking on it) where as Christmas moss is great some vertical areas that stay damp. DEFINATELY post a detailed journal. I'm getting into terrariums/paludariums again. Ive got a little bowl that I'm trying to grow some terrestrial mosses (That I collected in NC) in and make something for the dining room table. Not having much luck so I may go to java moss.
Those pencilfish come in? You haven't posted pics yet. Maybe you could include some shots of your emersed grow outs? I'm having a hell of a time since I take them outside for light, but then the mid day heat cooks them...


Well, I never had a 10g Betta tank to add a java fern into. When I got back into the hobby & first into planted tank I got a 55. lol. I guess that’s why my first viv is gonna be a 120. Ha! I’m certainly not going to attempt to reinvent the wheel, not with something that large. Part of the reason I think this build will take a while is that I will need to buy all the pieces and parts, including a mist king. If I was sticking with the 50g (25x18x25) I wouldn’t worry about that as much but something this size it becomes more of a necessity. I’ve got a lot more research to do on plants, including things like mosses.

The pencilfish didn’t come in, there was an error on the wholesaler’s fish list & they didn’t have them in stock.

As far as emersed set ups go, they don’t need that kind of light(the sun) they don’t even need t5s. Go with a cheap cfl in a clamp on light fixture or some t8s. I use T5HO fixtures and my BML bc that’s what I’ve got. I know a bunch of people that don’t use anything that fancy/expensive. Hell, some people use t8 fixtures over white plastic box lids, not even clear! I do need to update my emersed thread though.


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Discussion Starter · #92 ·
I know it has been a while since I’ve updated this thread. I’ve sold off some of the killifish species, as well as most of the Gertrude’s blue eye rainbowfish. The rest of the Gertrude’s will be gone soon.

I did recently pick up about 25 more Elassoma okefenokees for a new tank and to sell to some friends in different places. I think most of them will end up in my Mr. Aqua 60p, which I would like to set up as a low tech planted tank.

I also grabbed a pair of Aphyosemion campomaanense campomaanense ABK 07-181 that I plan to do some actual breeding with. They are a gorgeous pair of fish. I’m not sure which tanks I’ll use for this, probably a combo of 5.5gals and and shoeboxes.

Ordered an ADA 60-F, the original plan is to make it a brackish water tank for Hawaiian Volcano Shrimp, a couple hermit crabs, a couple pieces of macro algae & a nerite snail. If that continues to be the plan by the time it gets here, that’s probably what’ll end up being. Other options are a riparium, or who knows.


I’ve been collecting plants for the 120viv. I haven’t made it much further along than a dozen different plants, which are currently in a variety of tanks. I’ve turned a 5.5g into a little terrarium and increased the number of emersed tanks currently running. I’ve been lucky enough to be included in some import orders so I’ve got a bunch of sweet plants. Also picked up a bunch of manzanita.








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Do you have those outside getting sunlight or indoors? I have heard over and over again about people growing plants emersed for faster growth and propagation... I sure haven't seen that. While my emersed stuff seems to be healthy and growing.. they certainly aren't growing like they are in my high tech tanks!
What species are you growing out for the viv? Will it be high humidity where you might be able to grow some anubias and buce?? I'm very interested in growing out large portions of bucephelandra for my display tanks and I think those rhizome plants would look killer in a viv.
 

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Discussion Starter · #95 ·
Well, this update is gonna be a lot of pics. I’ve been working on growing out a few species from Kiri tissue culture: Crypt. affinis ‘green’, C. tonkinensis (probably kubotae), C. nurii ‘red metallic’, Glosso, Marsilea angustifolia, Buce ‘Ghost 2015’, Buce ‘Brownie black’, Buce ‘brownie purple, Buce ‘brownie blue’, Anubias nana ‘white’, Hygro. ‘Flaming’, & Echinodorus aflame. I think that’s it. I’ve got a variety of mosses growing out as well. On the non-TC grow out side of things, I’ve picked up a ton of Crypts, Buce, & other aroids like Lagenandra, Homalomena, & Piptospatha.





AFA C. spiralis ‘Tiger’






Emersed tanks are now: 55, 40b, 20l, 10, 5.5 & about 10 Tupperware shoe boxes. Currently I do need to rearrange a few things though. The 5.5 & about half of the 10 are terrestrial plants for the viv. I’ve also got some of the Buce sp. growing out specifically for the viv as well, including ‘Dark Skeleton King’ and ‘Diana Green’ which is one of the largest Buce I’ve found so far.



The smaller Diana Green.




Aridarum ‘mini blue’


Carica Fern


Homalomena humilis ‘red’


Larger B. sp. ‘Diana Green’ in the bottom left corner. Those are 3.5” square pots.


Cryptocoryne nurii ’Rosen Maiden’


C. pontederiifolia ‘Red Lips’, C. ferruginea ‘tiger’, and C. sp. ‘Poseidon’


I’ll have to get better pics of the filmy ferns.

I’ve sold off a few fish species & bought a couple more, plus some Tangerine Tigers which should be here in a couple days.



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The ferns you are growing out for the vivarium.... are they all high humidity species?? Would they always need to be covered? Do you know species names or common names? I hadn't thought of dividing plants into individual pots inside the Tupperware. Keep plants to their own areas.
Where you buces emersed grown? If not, are they losing their submerged grown leaves? Do new leaves look similar to older leaves?
 

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Discussion Starter · #98 ·
What is your maintenance routine on those emmersed tanks?


It just depends on the tank. Several of them get the water mostly removed & replaced with new RO water to keep the tds a specific level. The 40b I try to maintain a TDS of <200ppm, others aren’t as low, while some are <50ppm if I’m paying attention.

Beyond that I try to mist daily to help maintain humidity.

While there is a heater in most tanks I don’t mess with it often.


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Discussion Starter · #99 ·
The ferns you are growing out for the vivarium.... are they all high humidity species?? Would they always need to be covered? Do you know species names or common names? I hadn't thought of dividing plants into individual pots inside the Tupperware. Keep plants to their own areas.
Where you buces emersed grown? If not, are they losing their submerged grown leaves? Do new leaves look similar to older leaves?


Currently, most of the ferns I’ve got require quite high humidity levels. While I do have a few terrestrial ferns, most of what I’ve got are filmy ferns such as the different Crepidomanes species & various locations. The Crepidomanes ferns are mostly known from locations & leaf type, such as sp. “Central Borneo Big Leaf.” These aren’t plants you’re going to find around often though.

Crepidomanes sp. ‘Timah Type 1’ -Singapore area.


Crepidomanes sp. ‘Big Leaf Central Borneo’


I did recently get Davallia parvula & D. repens. They’re both looking good.

Begonia minutifolia




I’ll get to the Buce question later today.


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Discussion Starter · #100 · (Edited)
Went to an event hosted by the Southern California Killifish Club, their annual Fish Fry, this last weekend with a group of people from the Arizona Rivulin Keepers(ARK) at Ron Harlen's housein Fallbrook, CA. There were a ton of fish available, a few plants, along with 30-40 people and tons of food and drink to be had. I bought a few different species of fish and some plants, all non aquatic, except for a couple bags of Java Moss. The fish I was most excited to purchase was a pair of Pseudomugil luminatus, which I actually got both pairs that were available but let a buddy have one. The other fish were mostly killifish. Aphyosemion australe 'Harlen's Burnt Orange', Aphyosemion sp. ntoba fcco 2013/15, and Nematolebias whitei (I'll edit with exact location later). The last fish I purchased was a group of Red White and Blue Guppies, which I got so that I would always have some guppy fry to feed to my apistos! lol. I ended up with several pairs of fish which were purchased by ARK and I am holding until the next meeting. So I've got two pairs of the burnt orange, and three or four of the whitei.














Ron also keeps a number of Apistogramma species. He gave me a female Apistogramma erythrura, to go with my remaining male, since he killed the second male. I was excited to get a female of this species. Ron goes to South America on collecting trips fairly regularly. He had a couple tanks full of an unidentified Apistogramma species that was collected in Columbia in 2015 that I found to be quite interesting. At the end of the day, I asked him if I could purchase a pair of them and he gave me a pair! He was just glad someone was excited to about the fish. Ron thinks that these may end up in the steindachneri-group. I put them in the 10g that I recently rescaped for my tangerine tigers. The TTs got pulled and tossed into a different tank with my Pseudomugil gertrudae. I'll have to add pics later as I've gotta get to the greenhouse and get some guayule planted.






C. cordata ‘Thailand’
 
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