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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been a member of this forum for quite a while... but haven't checked in for over 4 years, because I kind of fell out of the hobby. Since university, I've successfully kept various sized tanks, generally moderately planted, and enjoyed them.

The last tank I had before I moved from California to France had a fire (something shorted out in the light unit while I wasn't home, I think was the conclusion of the insurance investigation, and luckily the apartment complex maintenance guy was in the right place at the right time, busted down my door and used a fire extinguisher before I lost the entire contents of the apartment. The tank, obviously, was sadly toast, but the damage otherwise wasn't severe (but soot gets *everywhere*).

Since I knew that an international move would be coming up in a few months, I chose not to get a new tank after that.

When I moved to France, my fiancé, who knew I'd enjoyed fishkeeping before, bought me a Juwel Rio 125. We set it up, got it going... but I never really engaged with it. It had been long enough since the previous tank that I'd forgotten about things like fertilizer regimens and liquid carbon supplements and how to keep a tank happy (I've never done injected CO2 or high light or fussy setups), and when this tank got algae and the fish weren't doing great, I kind of stopped looking at it because it made me feel bad, and not looking led to not thinking about it, and so the cycle went. We did water changes every couple weeks and kept the few sad plants and fish going for almost 3 years, but it hadn't been thriving.

A few weeks ago, something prompted me to mentally re-engage with the tank. I remembered the existence of this forum and started poking around again. I replaced the lightbulbs in the hood (is it still a thing that you're supposed to change the bulbs every year or so? I seem to remember that but haven't gotten around to looking for that info yet), and began to plan.

Here is the tank about two weeks ago:


I scraped the algae off the glass, pulled up all the plants, vacuumed the substrate. Went down to the local garden/pet megacenter (they seem to have a pretty reasonable fish department - some very nice planted and cichlid display tanks including a wall of ~5gal "idea" tanks all different, happy-looking discus for sale, etc), picked up some plants, fertilizer and liquid carbon (Dennerle brand) and replanted. I figured out how to work the somewhat confusing light timer and set a 6 hour photoperiod in the evening. The tank does get some direct light for about an hour before sunset, though it's not much when the curtain is closed, just a sliver. Tank last week the day after the redo:



Livestock: 3 rummy nose tetras and what is supposed to be a bristlenose pleco. A lot of pest snails XD
Previous plants: Java fern, a couple varieties of anubias, some kind of crypt and some kind of what I think is a small chain sword or something.
New plants: downoi (pogostem helferi?), corkscrew val (I think) and some kind of ludwigia (wasn't labelled).

It may be my imagination, but I think the downoi is taller, and maybe the ludwigia too, than it was a week ago. The crypts haven't tried to die after their uprooting, which makes me happy (they're not happy plants, but they're hanging on). The anubias is unkillable (I've always done well with anubias...)

The plan: Journal to keep me a bit more engaged and hopefully get this tank going properly. Maybe get some input on what I am and am not doing right, and maybe ideas for how to make the tank more attractive.
Give the tank another week or two, and get some more rummies because they need some friends.
If all continues to go well, slowly add more fish - I'd like something small and schooling in the upper half (I've always been partial to harlequin rasboras but might try something else) and a small or medium cory on the bottom (I love me some pygmy cories but we'll see).

Thanks for reading if you stuck with me this far. I kind of specialise in wall-of-text.
 

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Congrats on coming back to the dark side!

It sure is fun to come back to a once loved hobby after many years as I did with aquariums aswell.

Go with the pygmies they are just to adorable to say no to. As for your small schooling fish have you looked into Microrasbora?

Can't wait to see your tank fill in
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We picked up 10 rummy-nose tetras yesterday to keep the 3 we already had company. I only wanted to get 7 or so, but they had a special price on 10, so we got 10. Within an hour, they were all out in the front of the tank instead of hiding in the back like they’ve been forever… 3 rummies are not happy rummies. 13 are a lot happier. Bonus pleco was out when I took the pic. Also, I figured out what white-balance setting on my camera makes the tank not look all brown and stuff.

The rummies so far are mostly staying on the left side of the tank; I'm considering moving the driftwood in the front right to the back and bringing the vals across in a diagonal into the front right, to give them a bit more swimming space. I need to move the big anubias back and wedge him better into the big driftwood, he's kind of floated down.



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Go with the pygmies they are just to adorable to say no to. As for your small schooling fish have you looked into Microrasbora?
I also have a small (10 liters?) desktop tank I want to get going that I'm thinking about Galaxy rasboras and either pygmy cories or cherry shrimp. Though the ones I'd really love to get are Microrasbora erythromicron - I had a few at one time that a friend gave me when he moved - he'd gotten them in a random batch of fish at the pet store and had no idea what he had, but thought they'd grow big. When they didn't, I went hunting around to figure out what they were. I really liked them - fun to watch and I love the vertical stripes. Seems ilke they're still rare though.

The thing with Galaxies (or the M erythromicron) and the 'big' tank is that they're mostly middle-of-tank schoolers as I recall, and the rummy-nose tetras stay near the bottom, which means that the top levels of the tank will still be empty. Same problem with ember tetras - I really enjoyed having those too before, but I don't recall them being upper-level fish. I did see honey gouramis at the store yesterday, so one or two of those could be an option. Not going to add anything more for at least a couple weeks regardless so we'll see.
 

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Welcome back to the hobby! Huge improvement on the tank. Now that you are getting the plants more established, a longer light cycle might be useful. I am upto 9 hours on my tanks with minimal algae issues but I have more plant density than you do. Running fluorescent tubes, I would strongly suggest yearly replacement. Keep us updated on the progress.
 

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Good to see you back in the hobby again, took me almost 10 years to return.

What's the water like in your part of France, I hear that there's a lot of hard water. Might see if you can pick up some Vesuvius Swords, they're becoming more available in Europe, ( don't think I've ever seen them here in the States..?)
 
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