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Our New Aquarium
Topic Started: Feb 21 2017, 04:26 PM (614 Views)
stinger9142
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Endure and survive...
Hey everyone.

I have always loved aquariums, and have and had a few smaller tanks over the years. A couple years ago I promised my daughter we would try and get a large aquarium when we could. She is six now, and I think it is a great time for her to experience it. At the time I promised her, I knew we would be having to move soon, so I wanted to wait until we were able to buy a house. I did not want the pain of trying to move a decent sized tank. After we bought our house, I procrastinated a bit.

Last Thursday, I decided it was time. My wife and I went shopping and bought a 38 gallon curved front tank. It was a fairly expensive set up, but I felt it would be worth it. To be honest, I jumped the gun a bit. I got the tank set up that night and treated the water. I don't know if anybody here keeps fish, but I did a big no no. I didn't allow my aquarium to cycle properly (can take weeks) before buying fish. I had never done it before, and didn't understand until it was too late. Now I did at least research good fish to get for a community, and we made good choices there. I also made sure to research how big of a community I could have. I added our fish Saturday night.

As a result of my actions I am now having to do a lot of extra work to cycle the tank with the fish in there. For anybody who isn't aware, cycling is the process by which your tank becomes able to handle the ammonia coming from decomposing fish poo and such with good bacteria. Without proper cycling, the tank can experience spikes in Ammonia, Nitrites, and Nitrates. That can mean dead or sick fish.
I am combating this by adding Tetra Safe Start, which introduces the bacteria needed to eat the ammonia earlier than it naturally would had I went the longer/correct route. I also took gravel from a co-workers established tank to help introduce more of the good bacteria necessary.

We bought 5 Cherry Barbs, 5 Glofish, 3 Corydora Catfish, a Kuhli Loach, and a Bristlenose Pleco. When the tank gets properly cycled, we will be adding 2 Golden Wonder Killis, another Loach, and a Golden Mystery Snail.

Anyhow, on to the fun stuff...

It has now become our new hobby. My daughter and I have spent a few hours each day since watching the fish. I hope all my efforts to correct my mistake pay off, and we are able to keep these little guys alive. Here are some pictures of our journey so far. I am enjoying researching everything I need to be doing, and it seems to be a very rewarding hobby.

All set up and fishless with the daytime led lights on
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and with the blacklight leds
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my daughter looking at her new tank
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After we just added the fish
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feeding time
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watching her fish
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bonus! a rare appearance by our elusive loach. He is peaking out from under the fake rocks. He is very shy, and is about 1.5" long
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If anybody else has an aquarium or input, I would love to see pics or hear your two cents.
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bluedogrulez
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Well we have a new winner for most adorable post. Those pics of little Miss Stinger with her tank are outstanding! And I learned that the Loach is the house cat of the aquarium fish world. Good luck with your acquatic community Stinger!
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Milage007
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Looks great Stinger and it's pleasing to see you both looking so happy. I've always liked the idea of one but I understand they require a lot of commitment. I hope the little guys get on OK and the mini ecosystem can get up and functioning in there.

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stinger9142
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Thanks guys! It seems like a lot of work in general, but I think the biggest part of it is at the beginning, and then partial water changes frequently along with testing the water a lot. I already have dreams of setting up a 55 gallon saltwater tank, complete with coral, sand, and plants. :yeah:

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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Great pics Stinger!

I always liked 'neon' fish.
I asked an expert, and things should be fine in a few days. You could add an Ick treatment to the water as a precaution, but it's probably not necessary.

Edited by No64DD, Feb 21 2017, 09:25 PM.
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stinger9142
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Thanks, no64dd

Yes, the glofish are very neat. Was cool to read about them using jellyfish and coral genomes to produce the effect and colors. Only gmo animal you can buy in the USA
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stinger9142
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By the way, we had a cherry barb disappear for at least 24 hours. I checked under all tank decorations. We assumed it didn't make it but found no body and don't have anything that could have eaten it. It showed back up tonight thankfully!

My daughter has named some. The corydoras are cory, dora, and frisky. The loach is little loachy. Three of the barbs have been named - pinky glow, cherry burst, and the missing one is fishy shy. The pleco is spec. It is really amazing to watch her with them. She has been over by the tank doing pretend voices for them and carrying on pretending for about 15 minutes straight now :lol:
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Shellshocker18
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Fish like to hide so if they get lost just flip the tank over and they'll come out! ~~Don't actually do this or you're a crazy person


That's a very nice aquarium Stinger. It seems to be entertaining the younin so I'm sure it's worth a lot to her. Is it in your living room? It probably makes some really nice ambient noise to sleep to
Edited by Shellshocker18, Feb 21 2017, 11:14 PM.
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stinger9142
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The fish was in hiding again this morning :lol:

Thanks, Shellshocker18. It is in the living room. In is actually almost totally silent. The pump is for a 50 gallon. I have had 10 gallon pumps that were 10 times louder than this one. I usually love the sound of the running water as long as it isn't over bearing. Very peaceful :yeah:
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D.J Cat
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Any relation to the Hylian Loach? 😱
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stinger9142
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:lol: probably a distant cousin ;) it is funny. That was one of the first things that crossed my mind when I saw the word loach.
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KnightlyGaming
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*Disclaimer I am a huge aquarium nerd and my first job was even working with fish/aquarium stuff

First, good choice in heater and food, recognize both and would recommend, also second I love bow front tanks so good choice there lol.
One thing to just keep in mind is that in general you are wanting to keep the amount of fish you have in a tank at most around 1 inch of full grown fish per gallon of water. Any higher and you begin to have to worry a bit about ammonia levels getting a bit high. This can be kept down with staying on top of water changes but even then can get out of hand so just something to be mindful of. Another thing that you can look into is Marimo Moss Balls. They are a live algae ball (doesn't spread through the tank or anything so don't worry) that acts as an extra natural filter that can help a little with that. Looking at your decorations I am assuming you shopped at Petsmart (they carry all of those decorations and the fish you listed are commonly carried by them) and Petsmart does sell the moss balls.

One other thing to keep in mind is that the cory cats and the loach both like finer gravel or even sand, so you mind want to buy a small bag of the smaller gravel to put in a corner of the tank or something so they have a nice place to scavenge around. Also be aware that the Kuhli Loach loves to hide but if you ever want to have a really good chance of seeing it then try looking at the tank at night since it is nocturnal and more active at night.

Also cherry barbs are one of my favorite small schooling fish so good choice there :yeah:
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stinger9142
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Thanks KnightlyGaming! Yes, I used the 1" per gallon formula to decide what we were getting. I set a goal to keep it at under 40" total going with the average adult lengths I found for each of the types online. The tank and decorations came Petsmart. The fish all came from a local fish store called Aquatic Marine.

I am certainly going to check into the moss balls. I was actually reading about them earlier today. I am currently in the process of evaluating a plant or two to add. Leaning towards an Echinodorus Bleheri in the back, and Staurogyne Repens in the front. I also plan to add some smaller lime free or quartz gravel to put around the pants. I was hoping the cory cats would like it.

Thank you for all your input. I am rapidly becoming consumed by everything fish related :lol:

Just an update too, despite my early screw ups, My nitrite and nitrate levels are both showing surprisingly low. I should be able to test the ammonia levels in a couple of days. My kit arrives for that this Friday!
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KnightlyGaming
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Glad you're doing the research. One thing to keep in mind with the live plants is whether or not you plan on using fertilizers, because a lot of plants need at least occasional nutrients added to assist in their growing. The plants you listed are about mid to low difficulty in keeping and I would agree that they look good. Other plants that are VERY easy to keep (in case you are worried about having live plants for the first time, assuming that this is your first time) would be amazon swords and basically any kind of anubias. They are more broad leaf plants but the amazon swords get fairly tall and anubias (especially anubias nana) are one of the easiest plants to take care of. Glad to see you are getting really into this tank though and hope you continue having fun with it :yeah:
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kartmaster
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Very cool and beautiful setup! Classy! And mesmerizing to watch I'm sure. Better than TV these days.
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stinger9142
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Thanks kartmaster!

KnightlyGaming - thanks for the plant input. I was consisdering both the others you mentioned too. I was worried the swords would grow to large. I definitely need to take more of a look at the nana then :yeah:

Our cherry barbs continue to periodically disappear. We think they are making their way inside the bridge via some small holes in the top. Also our loach made a longer appearance last night. He swam openly for a brief few minutes before tunneling under some rocks. Funny guy
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sublime1996525
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I've had a 14 gallon salt water tank for 7 years and just purchased a 34 gal and am going through a soft cycle with that. Fish tanks are a fun hobby and if done right can be just beautiful.
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No64DD
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Neva wizard Kee
Is anyone here familiar with AZoo products?
It is an import company that started showing up here in the last decade with whole lines of very nice marine care products.
Edited by No64DD, Feb 23 2017, 06:10 PM.
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sublime1996525
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I have not heard of them.
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stinger9142
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That's awesome, sublime!
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bluedogrulez
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We had a saltwater tank at school. I was there for its inception. We had striped bass and a host of other Hudson River creatures. The school apparently made the mistake of including baby crabs because that first night they had a blast feasting on some of the poor unsuspecting fish. It got corrected though and was a really fascinating thing we all really enjoyed.
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Shellshocker18
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bluedogrulez
Feb 24 2017, 12:40 PM
We had a saltwater tank at school. I was there for its inception. We had striped bass and a host of other Hudson River creatures. The school apparently made the mistake of including baby crabs because that first night they had a blast feasting on some of the poor unsuspecting fish. It got corrected though and was a really fascinating thing we all really enjoyed.
This reminds me of a thing that happened to me in second grade. The class was raising some monarch butterfly's in a little tent. This class also had a class bird and I guess the teacher forgot to lock the cage one night because one morning The tent was ripped open and all the butterfly's were either gone of half eaten. A few kids cried but I'm pretty sure I was one of the kids who thought it was cool.
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stinger9142
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:facepalm: to quote T.J. from Deuce Bigalow.... "That wasn't to well thought out" :lol:

Sadly I have a sick cherry barb. Worried we will lose them. He has laid on the bottom most of today. Never seen a fish look so healthy just laying there like that. He occasionally swims around or moves a bit, but then goes back to it. given my earlier screw up, I guess I should be glad he is the only one doing bad. Still hate it though...
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stinger9142
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Well, it has been a month, so I thought I would kind of do a little update. I have become pretty obsessed with aquariums. I haven't played the first video game since we got ours :lol: My daughter and I watch it for a couple hours each day.

We did lose the sick Cherry Barb I mentioned in my last post. He had a growth or something on his under side that we went back and saw in our first photos of him. Not sure if that was the cause of it though. We lost the smallest of the Glofish one week later. He looked fine, but just stopped eating no matter what we tried. I replaced the Barb with 2 Albino Cherry Barbs, and I replaced the blue Glofish with two pale pink Glofish. We also added a fourth Albino Corydora. The two Glofish came down with Ich, but we were able to kill it off by increasing our tank temperature, and adding more salt. All the fish are doing great now. We added 8 Marimo (Algae) Balls to the tank as well. This thursday we are adding 2 more Kuhli Loaches, and a Golden Mystery Snail.

The tank cycled in less than a month, and all my readings are now exactly where they should be :yeah:

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A more recent photo

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My daughter made this for me yesterday out of construction paper, so I can look at our tank at work :)

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A better pic of our Kuhli Loach than I had last time.

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A closeup of him.

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A closeup of Spec, our Bristlenose

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My wife and daughters' favorite fish, "Dora"



Just like any other obsession, I have trouble stopping. So here is the next step
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It will likely be a couple weeks or so before I start buying everything for it, but I can't wait. It will have sand substrate (most likely white), and bog wood, plants, and rocks in it. We are wanting to do a more natural "river" kind of theme with it.
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Shellshocker18
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That picture she drew is awesome. I hope she keeps it forever and it never gets lost because it will be a nice memory. Maybe you should date it just for future sake
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stinger9142
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I pinned it up at work, with the date on the back! :yeah:
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stinger9142
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Well we changed directions after my last post. We decided to go with a 75 gallon saltwater tank instead. So I designed and built a 29 gallon sump tank to operate under the cabinet with the filtration equipment inside of it. Makes for a much less cluttered display tank. I got it up and running yesterday. We are letting it cycle for about 3 weeks before adding fish or coral.

Here are some pics.

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After sand and live rock were added, but before the water.

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After adding water and letting the sand settle back down.

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And now for a peek under the cabinet at the sump, before the water went it.
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and a clearer pic of the sump out in the open
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Thanks for looking :yeah:
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No64DD
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Excellent setup Stinger!

Of course most aquarium shops and outlets will try to sell you their version of a saltwater filter system, but you can easily make your own.

I remember years ago, my dad had a big tank like yours, and he basically made his own filtration system out of two plastic storage bins underneath. It worked so well, that over time it was like having a second ecosystem underneath with growing coral and marine life! 🐡

Did you keep your freshwater setup?
Edited by No64DD, Apr 22 2017, 10:36 AM.
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stinger9142
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That is cool about the storage tub filtration. Seen a few done like that lately. It was very neat being able to decide for myself what to do in the sump. I went with an oversized skimmer, a slot where I can put filter media, some more live rock rubble in another compartment, and a place for chaeto algae down there too. Yes we still have our 38 gallon freshwater. It is doing fantastic. We also have another 75 gallon tank sitting in the basement for another future freshwater tank, and a ten gallon we may do shrimp in! I am thoroughly hooked :lol:
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sublime1996525
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Awesome man! My Red Sea Max 250 has been going strong for 2 months. I did lose my Yellow Watchman Goby though :( I'm also trying to go skimmerless. We'll see how this works.
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