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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have another thread going for my Fish Nook that details the Build:
https://www.plantedtank.net/forums/...27-sonoran-desert-fish-nook-build-thread.html

However, since I am also introducing some initial Flora and Fauna, I thought that it would be a good idea to document some of that activity apart from the constuction, electronics, etc.. aspects.

At present, the main mini-rack of the Fish Nook has 4 20 gallon long aquariums arranged in a 2x2 grid (I have the option to go one more level up... but for now... resisting).









It's all basic stuff. In each tank:
all shrimp occur in schools of 3, with a different variety in each tank
all Tetras occur in schools of 6 (sans the embers which are four in number... because they came from a 5gallon micro tank), with a differnt variety in each tank
all Ottos occur in schools of 2 or 3. I appear to have a mix of Affinis and Vitatus.
all amano shrimp also occurs in groups of 2 or 3... and occur side by side with a neo populatin in each tank.
all dwarf Cichlids occur in schools of 4 with a different variety in each tank (only 2 tanks have dwarf cichlids at the moment.. Gold Rams and Blue Rams)
all Corydoras occur in schools of 6 (sans the Juliis which are 9 strong). Still need a school of corydoras for one of the tanks.
each tank has the same exact plants.
Guppies are present in 3 of the 4 tanks because my wife really enjoys them.... so in they went...

Again... This is the initial planting and stocking. There is no elaborate aquascaping yet... just want the cut stems to develop some roots for now. Nothing is being done to encourage any breeding. the shrimp and fish population will be fluid... we will just see how everything gets on....

This is all learning.. Learning to dose... Learning about CO2 fertilisation... learning about feeding... I'm hoping the centralized nature of my Fish Nook (common double sump, common uvfilter, common dosing/co2 fertilisation, common temp control) will make things easier to maintain as it's all dialed in...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I'll update the initial planting list. Remember that each of the four display tanks received the same plant variety (So obviously I bought everything in groups of 4 and 8). The goal was just to root them. I will do full aquascaping in January 2021 (a few weeks). I'll have enough root growth to secure everything, but not enough to yank out the heating cables and disturb the substrate.

Most of these were purchased from Arizona Nature Aquatics in the final weeks before they closed the store. So the selection was a bit picked over (e.g. no java fern). However, Ben succeeded in putting together a nice group of easy beginner stem plants. I'll add more difficult things like Amazon Swords and Cryptocorynes later.

Bacopa Caroliniana
Aponogeton Crispus
Naro Leaf Ludwigia
Nesaea Golden
Lindemia Rotundifolia
Bacopa Colorata
Alternanthera Reineckii Varigated
Proserpinaca Palustris
Ludwigia Repens Rubin
Pogostemon Octopus
Blyxa Japonica
Vailisneria Jungle
Alligator Frogbit (don't know proper name)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'll update the Fish list. Most were purchased from Arizona Nature Aquatics in the final weeks before the closed the store (little selection) and Aquarium Zen in Seattle on a recent trip.

Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi German Blue - 4 (I hate including 'german' in the name, but now that we have Powder Blue and Electric Blue strains, it's necessary to differentiate)
Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi Gold - 4
Corydoras Julii - 9
Corydoras Panda - 6
Otocinclus Affinis - 9
Amano Shrimp - 10
Neo-Caridinas - 12 (Red Rilii 3, Orange 3, Peppermint 3, Blue Velvet 3).
Lemon Tetras - 6
Emperor Tetras - 6
Bleeding Heart Tetras - 6
Red Serpae Tetras - 6
Ember Tetras - 4
Fancy Tail Guppies (Assorted... but do have a Panda Pair).

Looking to get a few more Corydoras species, Mikrogeophagus strains/varieties, Tetra species as I am close to adding a 5th tank to the system.
Let me honest about the new-caridinas... 1 peppermint lept to his death... all of the blue velvets and some oranges found their way into Chamber 1 of the Sump. I'll wait until they get large before fishing them out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
No major changes at all to the inhabitants in the FishNook. Just posting an updated photo for the four display tanks that are online. We are approaching almost 4 weeks.

This was this morning, Jan 1st.



Starting to fill out... Will add stone and re-arrange things this month..

Maybe a before picture would help too (Dec 6th).

 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Fancy Tail guppies are breeding.. and I've spotted some tiny shrimp in two tanks...

Decided to introduce a bit of Najas Guadalupensis (Guppy Grass, yeah, I know.. will need to control it...)

I also added 2 bunches of Leptochilus Pteropus (Java Fern) to each of the 4 tanks.

Added tiny portions of Vesicularia montagnei ‘Christmas’ (Christmas Moss) to the drift wood in all four of the aquariums. We will see how it does.

8 new Cherry Shrimp have been added as well (one is heavy with berries, so we will see how that goes) to two of the four tanks.

Today, as I performed a wipe down of the glass in all of the aquariums to remove just the slighest beginning of algae spots (very little)... I noticed most of my stem plants are a bit out of control for growth... so I'm at the point where I need to start doing some aggressive pruning. This is a good problem to have... I'll post a photo tomorrow as the lights have gone out in the Fish Nook.

I also need to start planning out actual aquascapes and executing them.... it's time to introduce some broad leaf plants for sure!!
Maybe the smart thing is to do my first aquascape on the the new 5th Display Tank (yeah.. I didn't resist long... going to the top.... 5th tank is ready to go.... I will wait on the 6th..)..
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Five months in, all of my Mikrogeophagus Ramirezi have perished. Frustrating. Everything else is absolutely thriving, with the exception of small Panda Cories.... big ones are fine... small ones have about a 50/50 chance of growing up...

Now that I have the 6th tank and no rams, I have expanded the tetras... mixing two types in most of the tanks. Lemons w/ Black Phantoms. Bleeding Hearts with Pristellas. Red Eye Tetras with Emperors (to similar in color, going to move those around), Buenos Aires with nobody (they are agressive, I need to do research). Runny Nose with Cardinals. Serpaes wtih Embers (too similar in color, going to move those around too). I try keep the Tetras in groups of 6 and 8..... Though, i've had a few jumpers here and there and Im down to 4 or 5 of some of them.

I've read that I"m not keeping enough Ottos together, so i need to remedy that. I"ve also introduced Rapashi food which is helping the Ottos get more food.

My aquascaping is blah... I'll work on that.

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I wouldn't stress too much on the otos- if they are eating will and their bellies are round they should be fine- you have tetra they can school with and if you're having to feed them then natural food sources aren't accumulating so their utility isn't a necessity for you. I've ALWAYS advocated schools of at least 8 for otos in the past as that's what I was preached by someone I have the utmost respect for a far as catfish are concerned, but a of lately my personal observations have changed my mind.

They are definitely social fish that like to school but I've noticed with the single oto in my tank that it is happy enough schooling with my rummynoses. I've noticed similar behaviour in the onesies and twosies in other tanks I've observed recently as well. I still would suggest a trio but I wouldn't worry too much about not having enough if the ones you have are eating and not displaying any stress.
 

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What temperature are the tanks that the rams were in? Shops around here keep them very hot. I've also heard that rams are getting pretty disastrously inbred.

I have to say the look of your tanks seems very reminiscent of Aquarium Zen, with a sort of natural, laissez-faire planting style. I think maybe some taller driftwood and some epiphytic plants would complete the look. Have you ever tried gathering stuff like dead manzanita or ironwood for your aquarium before? You southwestern folks have a bunch of great wood for aquariums.

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I got some good Manzanita now and the plant growth is very robust (daily pearling of the leaves). Just need to do a bit more with the scape.

Rams are all gone now and I've expanded my Corydoras and Tetras. Each tank has at least 2 different kinds of tetras schooling in groups of 6 to 8 (well some groupings are 4 and 5 if I've had jumpers... looking at you lemon tetras, columbian tetras and penguin tetras.). I've found the tank with the Columbian Tetras also has now snails... Interesting...

I'm swamped with work, so I've not had a desire to take photos or post details... but the fish and plants are doing very well. Plants that dropped leaves before are retaining them.... no brittleness.. no melting.. Aggressive trimming is necessary once a week.

Still need to increase the size of the otto populations... they've just not been in stock.

The Desert Aquarist Society (Tucson AZ area fish club) is having it's first in-person meeting this Saturday... No presentations... just meet and greet and auctions galore. Hope to score some good flora and fauna there. I'll bring clippings....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's been a while since I've provided any updates tothis thread which just shows the plants and fish in the display tanks and none of the tech of the build thread. The Fish Nook now has 6 display tanks, 2 more than when it was first broken in a year ago.

It's gotten a bit crowded and disorderly. Definitely is getting a Dutch type look to it. Trimming is done about every 10 days and the floaters have just become very heavy...removing them constantly.
Lots of work and needed and obviously some plants are doing much better than others.

The tanks are densely populated with fish (most hiding while I take photos). However, remember that I have another 30% more water in reserve in the sumps and refugium.

40% water change are done every 5 to 7 days. Dosing occurs every 3 days. It's pure re-mineralized RO water.


Water Plant Plant community Natural landscape Organism


Plant Water Terrestrial plant Pet supply Wood


Plant Flower Plant community Terrestrial plant Vegetation


Plant Water Botany Terrestrial plant Vegetation


Plant Water Plant community Terrestrial plant Vegetation


Plant Water Wood Vegetation Body of water
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I slacked a little on trimming and went about 2 weeks on all 6 display tanks. This is what I ended up with in my catch all tank out on my deck.... I don't know that the photo does it justice, but I suspect that you could plant an entire 125 gallon tank with the contents. There are about 10 different types of plants in here.

Water Plant Organism Grass Aquatic plant
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I haven't updated in a while, but I thought I would mention a change I have made.

I have removed the Black Rams from this setup... This allows me to lower the overall temperature. I now maintain 78degF (25.5degC). Easier on the powerbill and betters suited for the corydoras. My pH is maintained at 6.5... The DH 2 of GH of 4... temperature of 78...

My fishkeeping preferences have changed. I find I really like Tetras and Corydoras. I've gotten over feeling like I needed Dwarf Cichlids, Angelfish, Discus, etc as my 'premium ornamental fish'. I really prefer the simple schooling behavior of large groups of corydoras, shrimps, and tetras.

What has surprised me is how beautiful some species of Tetras get with size and really clean water. Water changes are 40% everyweek with water being introduced at about 24 degC. When this happens the Bleeding Hearts will spawn and lay eggs (which are course immediately devoured by the large school of Venezuelan corydoras and Pristella Tetras that are their tankmates).

The rather plain silver trip tetras have developed a gold/bronzy metallic color to their flanks which is very nice. The finnage of the Serpae Tetras is very dramatic. The penguin Tetras are so clearly defined with good silver speckling to their flanks and a deep black in their lateral line. The Columbian Tetras have developed such great sheen and deep read to the dorsal, caudal and tail fins.

I did add one odd fish.... a school of 15 Lampeye KilliFish. They are rather plain, but school nicely and are very docile. Their blue eyes are stunning. I took them from a fellow hobbyist who had about 80 of them in his 40 Breeder... they are very prolific breeders. Don't know if I will keep them.... but their addition also encouraged me to lower the temp to 78. I might try introducing them to an outside pond this summer.

My wife like's fancy tail guppies... so our original 6 have grown to about 40 spread accross two of the 20L display tanks and a spare 10gallon tank (a former quarantine tank... no worries I still have another hosp/quar tank running). We are getting to the point of needing to net out a few of them.

I'm keeping the ottos in much larger groups which encourages their grouping/schooling behavior. I have 5 to 6 per tank (only 4 of the 6 20L display tanks feature them). I could go on and on about each variety of corydora, pleco, tetra, and shrimp in the tank. Just wanted to give a little update.
 
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