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Discussion Starter #1
Last night at dinner I turned to my wife and said oh so casually... "I am trying to breed my ricefish but I think there are too many snails in the tank for the eggs to survive. So I think the best thing to do is put them in another container to breed". My wonderful wife said, "that sounds reasonable".

I took this as license and today:



A word about Aqueon, these guys have really stepped up their game of late. I have one of their 40 breeders I bought about 8 months or so ago. It has terrible silicone. Don't get me wrong, it holds water. But the construction is sloppy. The short sides are a millimeter too long, etc. A few weeks ago I went into my local Petco and saw these pretty nifty nano tanks they were now selling. At least some of these tanks have rims on the bottom but not the top. Others have no rims at all. And the silicone work is really quite good. Not I'll admit the best I have ever seen, but of a level of quality you need to get down and really stare at to find any flaws.

Meanwhile the newer standard aquariums also have massively upgraded silicone. No longer are the corners just slathered in uneven silicone, but rather carefully applied. They look pretty darn good! There is still a lot of old stock floating around with the terrible corners but the newer ones were downright professional looking.

Anyway I bought a 5.5 gallon aquarium that has a black rim on the bottom but not the top. Essentially very similar to the Fluval Spec V. I also bought a tiny internal filter with a powerhead inside rated at 25 gallons per hour. I am guessing that this rating is based on this pumps best day ever with a cheerleader off in the corner going bonkers with encouragement cause this pump with a piece of sponge in there to hotrod the filter is the very definition of weak sauce. That said, it does move a tiny bit of water and that is all I really wanted for a breeding aquarium anyway.

Now I could leave the tank bare, stick a bundle of moss or subwassertang in there and call it good. But I don't have many aquariums... and any chance to scape something I'm definitely going to jump on. But.. I also don't want to spend money on hardscape if I can help it. Fortunately I have some supplies lying around so I began by dumping a bunch of sand into the tank and moving rocks around. I ended up using only two rocks and a stick. Here is what I came up with:



Then I took everything out, dumped all the sand into a bucket. And then put down 1/2 inch of fluval stratum:



Then I dumped the sand back in and reassembled. I went to my local fish store and fortunately they had recently received a large shipment of plants. These guys were well stocked today. I bought Limnophila Heterophylla, Brazilian Pennywort, chain sword, and Chilensis (aka Sagittaria platyphylla, aka Broadleaf Sagittaria). I also bought 1 cup of a UNS tissue culture for Eleocharis Parvula Mini. This is my first time with a UNS tissue culture and I found it to be of superior quality to other tissue cultures. Currently lighting is a 25W CFL bulb. I will be replacing that with a 10w SANSI Grow Light Led bulb. Here is how it looks now:





You can tell your diy skills are strong when you use random boxes of basement stuff as stands for lights.

This tank is in my basement and hardly in an ideal location. This is meant to soften the blow a bit when my wife realizes that there is another tank in the house.

My plan for the tank is to let the pennywort go wild and grow up to the surface providing some nice cover. Once the tank is cycled (added some Tetra Safestart but you know.. gotta let it do its thing) I will add 1 male ricefish and probably 2 females. Then let them have at it for a few weeks. Once I know there are eggs in there for sure I will remove the adults and see if I can hatch out some fry. I'm excited to do this since despite the fact I have been keeping fish off and on for decades, I have never actually bred fish. I've always had community tanks and well.. if any breeding went on, it never went anywhere. So here's hoping I can make it happen!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Update:

Its been 11 days since startup. My tank is cycled thanks mostly to Tetra Safestart plus a bit of time and some fishfood I threw in on day 1.

Time to add the fish.

I netted out of my Walstad bowl 2 females and 1 male. One of the females is carrying eggs in the ricefish manner (near her anal fin).

Females:



Full tank shot:



Regarding plants the Limnophila Heterophylla is doing the worst of the lot which is surprising because its supposed to be a complete weed. New growth is green but the old growth is yellowing out and looks fragile.

The pennywort is doing great and several plants have reached the surface and started to do the lily pad thing which is exactly what I wanted it to do. The hairgrass is looking quite nice and is starting to bush out. I don't expect it to carpet but little bushes will be a good addition I think. The sag... meh its there.

Now we just need to wait for some darn babies to show up. ;P
 

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Update!

9 days since my last post and the tank has gone through some changes. First of all the Limnophila Heterophylla is basically gone. It continued to yellow and die with only 4 stems having any green on them at all at the very top. It was also shedding its dead growth all over the tank. With no snails or amano there was nothing in there to eat the old stuff and my filter is deliberately under powered so that wasn't cutting it either. I pulled all the plants and trimmed the 4 that still had green on them and stuck them in the back behind a rock. If they recover great, but I've essentially written them off at this point.

This leaves me with a bit of a gap. I need lots of plants in this tank not only because I like plants but because the darn fish use them to deposit their eggs. I looked around and eventually decided on bacopa caroliniana. I found folks selling it on the for sale section of this forum but listing it as Colorata. Apparently this is just a color variation of the caroliniana so that didn't bother me a bit. @Bubble Boy was my chosen vendor who sent them out quickly and well packaged. The plants came in great shape. Thank you Bubble Boy!

Meanwhile I was concerned with no cleanup crew in this tank that things would get a bit messy... so after a bit of research I settled on adding some blue dream neocaridina. I would normally head down to the local fish store for this but with COVID 19 I decided to order online for the shrimp as well. After a bit of search I ended up going with Next Generation Shrimp. My only complaint with them is that they never sent an email letting me know my order shipped. I did contact them through facebook and heard back within maybe 30 minutes? So they were definitely responsive when poked.

I ordered 6 shrimp for this tank and they sent me 7. All came in healthy at around 1/2 inch in length. I am pretty happy with how they look and behave in the tank.

And now some pictures!

The tank before I added the bacopa:



One of the shrimpys hanging out near the front glass:



The tank after the bacopa:



And a fish egg!



There are actually quite a few of these eggs in the tank but almost all are cloudy with fuzz on them. My understanding is the fuzz is fungus indicating the eggs are non viable. Is there a way of ensuring better hatch rates?? Possibly my plants just need to be doing better to provide more oxygen?

Oh and I forgot to mention but I switched up the bulb on this tank. I have been testing bulbs a lot recently for another project. So I took this Grow Bulb (which says its 100W but is actually 20w) and started using that. I decided to switch it up because I wasn't happy with light distribution. The other bulb was too focused a light and given the placement of my fixture wasn't getting the whole tank. The new bulb definitely does not have that problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
How's the tank doing?
Sadly terrible. I wasn't getting many eggs so I asked around on some ricefish groups and I was told room temp is not good for breeding they want it warmer. I added a tetra heater (small one that is preset). Then 2 of my fish died within a week. I still have a surviving female in there but I will be taking her out and putting her back with the others. Pretty sure it was the heater. Since I removed it the remaining fish has been fine.
 

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Update:

Its been almost 5 months since the last time I updated this thread properly. As my last post indicated this tank was a bit of a train wreck where actual breeding was concerned. I lost 2 of the 3 ricefish I put in this tank. I removed the last remaining female and added her back to the Walstad bowl bringing that tanks fish population up to 5. Despite these fish being well known for breeding I have failed utterly to breed any fish.

I was at a bit of a loss for what to do with this tank for a while. For one thing the Limnophila Heterophylla never took off and eventually melted utterly. This is one of those mystery things that happens sometimes with plants. Since many consider this plant a bit of a weed, my guess is that something with my water chemistry just doesn't agree with it.

I replaced the Limnophila with bacopa sometime ago. Other then that the plants have remained the same and done quite well.

The shrimp on the other hand took to heart my desire for breeding and gave it their all. The original 7 have all met their end at this point but not before dropping off several loads of babies.

As to how they met their ends? I am guessing it has something to do with the tadpoles I keep dumping in this tank ;P

Twice now I have taken tadpoles from the wild and dumped them into this tank. This was done at the urging of my 3 year old daughter. The first set grew up and morphed out. One morphed out and escaped before I realized what was happening. Another was successfully returned to my back yard ;P

Now I have another 2 tadpoles in the tank currently going through their grow-out. This is not entirely as a whim as I am planning to use this tank as a community tadpole raising tank for my dart frogs. I wanted to see if it would work as such and so far its looking very promising.

Here is how the tank looks today:

 

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that's great news that the shrimp were at least able to reproduce a bit before being snacked out. Maybe a few more hiding spots will save them from the tadpoles

plants look good.
surprised this all grew from the stock light, that's awesome!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
that's great news that the shrimp were at least able to reproduce a bit before being snacked out. Maybe a few more hiding spots will save them from the tadpoles

plants look good.
surprised this all grew from the stock light, that's awesome!
Its not clear to me how predatory the tadpoles really are with something that can swim as well as a shrimp. Certianly they will eat a dead one, but I'm not sure how many live ones that are catching and eating. To the extent they are eating any its not obvious right now as I still have a lot of shrimp. Currently I have 2 dart frog tadpoles in there and I'm about to add 7 more from a second clutch. Here is a tadpole after about a month after hatching:



I have a few berried female shrimp in this tank so I suppose once the eggs hatch and I have 9 total tadpoles in this tank it will be a true test of how predatory these guys are.
 

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Very nice little tank! Too bad it didn't work out for the ricefish, but sounds like you've had other success with it. I'm v glad to hear the aqueon tanks are better made, now. Makes me wish I'd bought a new one instead of going secondhand with a 55 I just picked up. I've always fretted and worried about seams that don't look even or have tiny bubbles in 'em.
 
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