View Full Version : rothenb1's aquarium journal

06-18-2010, 12:40 AM
When I first came to this site, I had no idea about the aquarium journals. So I'm going to start one now!

Be prepared for a novel, but then pictures!

In August 2009, my boyfriend (whom I live with... who shall now be referred to by his name, since he does, in fact, have one) expressed interest in an aquarium. I had been working at a pet store for a while by then and had become very interested in fish myself.

So when we could scrape together enough money, in October we purchased a 30 gallon with all the accoutrements: Marineland Penguin 200 filter, stealth heater, digital thermometer, gravel, et cetera. I ended up buying a stand at a local thrift store, and I was so lucky: someone had JUST dropped off a wooden stand meant for a 30 gallon tank, only 20 USD! It wouldn't fit in my car so they delivered it-- and they forgot to deliver it when scheduled, so they did it for free!

I started out with live plants, but since I had no knowledge on how to keep plants (and no one told me how to care for them), they all died. I became disillusioned from this so now I have tons of plastic plants. I don't mind them, but some day soon I'd like to go back to live now that I know what I'm doing.

When I noticed my plants dying I joined a different aquarium forum which shall remain nameless. I asked if I better lighting would help the plants. Their response? I couldn't keep live plants without having a CO2 injection system. HA!

We set the tank up and had the filter running for a week. I had no idea about cycling so there was no BB in the water. When we went to go get fish at the LFS, the man at least had the sense to ask if we had any BB in the water. When I said no, he gave us a bag full of juice he squeezed from a sponge filter to get us started. Thank goodness he did!

We bought two serpae and two red eye tetra, and one pearl gourami. I soon learned that tetras were schooling fish, so I decided to get a few more of each. Yet again, I asked on the other forum: will tetras of the same species school together even if they're not from the same original tank? Most people said that they would be fine, but one man picked the most ridiculous fight with me: because these tetras were captive bred they didn't need to be in groups-- basically that they didn't have the same needs as a wild fish. So I gave him this analogy: a captive bred wolf still needs a pack! Just because he's captive bred doesn't mean he conforms to what we want, he's still got innate psychological needs. Anyway he basically told me I was stupid and wrong, and when I told him I was finishing a degree in animal behavior so I was pretty sure I was right in this aspect, he told me to "hit the books". WHAT A JERK! (And this is why I adore this forum-- everyone is nice and understanding and no one would pick a ridiculous fight like that!)

We soon added more gouramis. Sam really had a fascination with them, and I didn't mind them. I just wanted my tetras, I still love tetras. So we added two more of each tetra and one gold and one blue gourami. Later we got three false-julii corydoras and 4 bloodfin and 4 penguin tetras. At one point we noticed that our gouramis fins were tattered, and after some observation we saw that the serpae and red eye tetras were chasing them, so these fish were taken back to the store. An opaline and moonlight gourami were acquired.

Then I came to this lovely site! We had decided to do a serious upgrade because our interest in fish had expanded quite a lot, and I was learning more and more each day. Everyone here is just so incredibly helpful with everything. Because of this site, I have learned so much, and now I am actually able to give proper advice to people!

So we got a 90 gallon in the beginning of March. We kept our old stock, but since then almost all of it has been replaced. We had been planning to give the 30 gallon to a friend, but when he never came to pick it up we set back up. I put my 4 bloodfin and 4 penguin tetras and 3 corydoras in there. Over time, I expanded my tetra schools to 8, and added celebes rainbows. I had 11 originally, 5 males and 6 females, but 4 of the males and one female died, sadly (I did add them all at once but knew about ammonia spikes and doing water changes, but I think they died because I bought them at the store where I worked which had a really cruddy aquarium system). That was actually the first time we ever lost a fish. I purchased three more cories, but two of them died recently. Soon I found more celebes at the LFS so I got my 4 males back!

Current stocking of the 30 gallon: 8 penguin, 8 bloodfin tetra, 9 celebes rainbows, 4 false julii corydoras, 1 BN pleco, 5 border loaches (I'm hoping to acquire a used 55 from craigslist [birthday present, Sam?] and that tank's going to be upgraded... again!!!) Sam wants to get rid of the 30, but I want a pair of rams in there! And of course, gotta add some other fish too....

Soon all the three-spot gouramis were replaced. We still have the pearl and the moonlight in there, we are having trouble parting with them, but I am worried about their safety with the current stocking. Everyone seems to be getting along well, for now. The three-spots were still getting along fine, but Sam lost interest in them and decided he liked SA cichlids. Again, I wasn't crazy about them but I didn't mind them, so I went along with it. Now I like them a lot!

Current stocking of the 90 gallon: 1 BN pleco, 1 redtail shark, 1 pearl and 1 moonlight gourami, 4 Geophagus pindare, 2 Biotodoma wavrini, 2 green and 1 gold severum, and a jack dempsey (which I wasn't too crazy about getting but Sam said he did a lot of research and they are generally peaceful if with other similar aggressive fish. The JD is the biggest fish in the tank [6 in] and actually is so peaceful that the pindare boss her around! She hides under her log most of the time but has become much more social recently. If I see any signs of aggression, though, she's out!)

We then acquired a 55 gallon from a friend, and Sam decided he wanted African cichlids. Again, I went along with it (who wears the pants in this fish relationship??). There's 11 Malawi cichlids in there, I believe it's a mix of peacocks, pseudotropheus and I think there's a hap or two in there. I'm not sure if this is the best mix but I'm still on the lookout for any aggression.

I added 4 blue botia to this tank. I adore loaches and when I saw these guys in the store I HAD to have them.

So, current stocking of 55: 10 cichlids, 4 blue botia, 1 6 inch albino BN pleco.

Sometime in February I snatched my lovely Mr Betta (RIP) from the store where I worked and stuck him in a 5gal. He died recently :(

So within 9 months we acquired four tanks... and it seems as if at least another 55 is in the future... and Sam has his eyes on a 125... I'm not gonna argue with that because the stocking in the 90 will soon need a 6 foot tank, and I still have my clown loaches on hold waiting for said 6 foot tank!

Now that you've (maybe) read my entire fishy-life story, here's some pictures!

This was the 30 gallon when it was the only tank we had. Looking at this picture... this tank stinks. We've since become much better interior decorators!

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs127.snc3/17452_1187613453904_1335330097_30845357_6295256_n. jpg

You can see the gouramis, serpae and red eye tetras in that picture.

Currently, the 30 gallon:


Still have my pots... I like them. And so do the loaches! (I have a bubble wall back there but turned it off temporarily to take better pictures... which I'm still having trouble doing!)


One of the male celebes. These guys and the tetras are really hard to get pictures of!

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs315.snc3/28434_1218645429684_1335330097_30927966_5860009_n. jpg

06-18-2010, 12:40 AM
A few of the border loaches in the 30gal:





I told you… they really like those pots!

06-18-2010, 12:41 AM
Here's the 55 gal cichlid/botia tank:


A couple of the blue botia



For loaches, these guys are quite aggressive. Their fins are all tattered, I guess they're still establishing a pecking order. Hopefully the aggression will calm down a little.

And the BN pleco: probably the cutest picture of a pleco ever taken!


06-18-2010, 12:42 AM
The cichlids from the 55:

Group shot


I believe this fish is a Copadichromis borleyi. Anyone else have an idea?


Cobalt blue zebra


questionmark cichlid. I believe it's a peacock?


06-18-2010, 12:42 AM
Also another questionmark cichlid. I'm not going to lie, Sam picked out a few of these guys from the "assorted" tank!


Yellow Tail Acei (Pseudotropheus acei)


A couple of the red "blotch" zebra being a ham! He kept trying to get into every picture.



06-18-2010, 12:43 AM
The 90 gal: *forgot to take a tank shot. will come soon!*

Jack dempsey


Redtail shark


Green severum


06-18-2010, 12:43 AM
More 90gal stocking:

gold severum


Geophagus pidare




06-18-2010, 12:44 AM
Now the betta!

Here's my old Mr Betta (RIP). Gorgeous little man.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs295.snc3/28434_1218645309681_1335330097_30927964_4565031_n. jpg

Mr Betta Jr. I purchased him because he was jet black in the store and I was going to divide the tank and have a black and a white betta, and name them yin and yang. When I returned from visiting my parents in NJ (where I purchased the betta) I found that Mr Betta had ammonia poisoning, most likely due to my friend overfeeding. So now Mr Betta Jr resides in the betta house alone.

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs510.ash1/30134_1221123531635_1335330097_30939948_1471341_n. jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs550.snc3/30134_1221123611637_1335330097_30939949_2472851_n. jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash1/hs510.ash1/30134_1221123451633_1335330097_30939947_3206611_n. jpg

I hope you all enjoyed my extremely exciting story and the photos. I'll continue to update this journal as new fish and tanks come. Thanks for looking!

06-18-2010, 12:59 AM
I believe this fish is a Copadichromis borleyi. Anyone else have an idea?


questionmark cichlid. I believe it's a peacock?


Also another questionmark cichlid. I'm not going to lie, Sam picked out a few of these guys from the "assorted" tank!

First one looks like a german red peacock.

Second one looks like some sort of sand sifter hap.

Third one looks like a pindani (socolofi).

06-18-2010, 01:07 AM
First one looks like a german red peacock.

Second one looks like some sort of sand sifter hap.

Third one looks like a pindani (socolofi).

Yeah the first one does look more like the German red than the Copadichromis borleyi.

The third one looks like maybe it's a socolofi hybrid. He was from the "assorted" tank. Thanks for the suggestions!

06-18-2010, 02:43 AM
You have some great looking fish!! thumbs2:

06-18-2010, 04:21 AM
You have some great looking fish!! thumbs2:

Thanks! I'm going to have to get some shots of the fish I got for my birthday (yes... my gift was fish.... among other things)

06-18-2010, 05:31 AM
Thanks! I'm going to have to get some shots of the fish I got for my birthday (yes... my gift was fish.... among other things)

I agree, nice lookin' fish ya got there. I did read the entire story too thumbs2: .

06-18-2010, 05:45 AM
I agree, nice lookin' fish ya got there. I did read the entire story too thumbs2: .

Hahaha... very interesting stuff...

06-30-2010, 04:53 PM
Some updates, but no pictures since the mother-in-law is with me at practically all times.

For my birthday we picked up a salvini for the 90 gallon and a couple more African cichlids for the 55.

Yesterday we picked up a blue acara and he seems to be doing well in the quarantine tank for now. He'll be moved into the 90 in a week or so.

I moved the border loaches to the 90 gallon from the 30 gallon, as they were growing pretty fast. I was worried about some aggression from the red-tail shark, so I added some rocks for more hiding spots. The loaches are very, very happy, darting around and chasing each other and hiding. Their colors have brightened exponentially. The shark pays them no mind at all; I even saw him hanging out with one of the loaches in a rock crevice.

Friday I get my my clown loaches. Very excited.

Since the border loaches have been moved from the 30, the false-julii corydoras have really come out and started to play a lot. Everyone is much happier. I'm thinking of adding another school of cories, probably metae cories. I've got 4 false-julii, so I was thinking 4 metae. Will that be too many cories? Will they hang out together? To my knowledge they will.

We are in the process of searching for a 125 gallon to move the 90 gallon stocking to, especially since we're going to have so many loaches and the cichlids are going to get so large. We're in contact with a few people with ads on Craigslist, but have also been looking at the local fish stores to see their pricing. The stocking of the 55 (African cichlids and blue botia) will be moved to the 90 gallon.

Because I would like a pair of rams and some other schooling fish in the 30, I am probably going to move the stocking of the 30 into the 55. There's 7 bloodfin tetras (I woke up one morning and one was dead, not sure of the cause, they all looked healthy the night before), 8 penguin tetras, and 9 celebes rainbows, plus the 4 false-julii corydoras, and hopefully soon the 4 metae. If I moved the stocking to the 55, do you think would I be able to put another school of 8 tetras and another school of 4 corydoras species in the tank without any issues?

I'm not sure about this. I still have to think about the stocking of the 55. I may move the border loaches back with the tetras when they go into the 55 so there aren't too many loaches in the 125.

In a few years we plan on having our own house, and will most likely upgrade to an 8 foot tank to accommodate the loaches and cichlids.

Lots of fishy updates! I'll try and snap some shots when I'm finally alone in my house for the first time in almost 2 weeks.

06-30-2010, 05:12 PM
After I posted that last update, I got an e-mail from a man we had contact with on Craigslist about the 125 gallon. He wants 250USD for the tank and matching black stand. Coincidentally, I will have a U-Haul on Friday to help my mother-in-law move the rest of her stuff... so we might as well pick up the tank then!!


06-30-2010, 05:19 PM
Lol, very nice. I did read through the whole thread and I can say that you and your bf are well on your way to a serious case of MTS. But that's okay!

Beautiful fishes and great pics. I really like the pots in the 30. The rockwork in the 55 is nice.

I'm also in the planning stage of a new tank too. It's so exciting and fun trying to figure out what to add, what to take away, etc. I think I should be setting up my own journal soon. It's going to be a 450 gallons tank, :hmm3grin2orange: .

PS. When are you coming over to the dark side (SW tanks)? Maybe a discus tank too? :hmm3grin2orange:

06-30-2010, 06:24 PM
Just talked to the guy again. He's upping the price to 300USD but he's going to give us the glass tops and a sump filter!! Problem is... I have no clue how to use a sump. Time to do some research.

Spardas... someday we might have discus, but not right now, especially after reading your post about how you do 80% water changes daily. No time for that now! Not enough money for SW either. Maybe someday.

06-30-2010, 07:01 PM
Your fish are amazing! You are so lucky that your boyfriend likes fish too. My husband hates my tank (I think he gets too attached and hates to see any fish die or the fry get eaten) and he will not let me get any more tanks....I beg and beg but he always says no. I guess it was a good thing my friend gave me her tank for free (if my husband only knew how much cash I had to spend to actually use the "free" tank he would kill me).

06-30-2010, 07:02 PM
Well, I can't wait to see everything set up.

What kind of a sump is he giving you? Does the tank have overflows or is he giving you an overflow box to go with sump? Just inspect everything to make sure there are no leaks.

As far as discus goes, you can get away with less water change if you're raising pre-adults or adults. There are ways to go for as long as a month or more without a water change for discus tanks but that's another story.

06-30-2010, 07:43 PM
I believe it is an overflow box. Still not sure. When we go to pick it up Friday we'll inspect it. If there's any problems obviously we just won't get it, but I really really hope it's in good condition... I don't think I'll EVER find a better deal than this!

07-03-2010, 02:46 PM
Yesterday was NUTS. What a "day off"!

First, I went and picked up my clown loaches. I got 6 straight from the transport bag, priced 4.50 for each on sale, plus my 15% employee discount... and then I found out that I got employee of the month (wow!) and I got the choice of a $25 gift card to either PetSmart or to the movies. Pretty obvious choice there. I ended up paying $3.38 for 6 three-inch clown loaches.

After acclimating them with the drip method for over an hour, I picked up the UHaul, and there were 6 people including the mother-in-law moving the rest of her stuff out of her ex's house. Dropped off some stuff at my house (woohoo more crap taking over the house) and the rest at her parent's house to be stored in the garage.

Sam and I left from there and drove the UHaul home to pick up our friend to help us with the tank, then the 10 miles to the seller's house.

The 125 is a little beaten up but it's nothing that a little cleaning won't fix. Mostly scratches on the black plastic and some cloudiness on the glass. The stand needs some cleaning too, but some elbow grease should have it looking good rather soon. Of course the glass tops need some cleaning and the black hinges have come off. I'm sure we can figure out how to glue them back on.

The tank wasn't drilled for a sump, and he offered us either the sump or a Rena XP3. We went for the Rena. Exciting! We'll definitely get another Rena filter for extra filtration. Probably an XP2.

The tank is sitting in my spare room waiting for the cleaning process. I would take pictures but there's barely any room to walk around in there, with all the other stuff that had been in there already.

We're going to spend a very long time cleaning it and figuring out what else we need to buy and how we're going to do the switch.

We have to put the 125 where the 90 is and put the 90 stock in the 125. We have to put the 90 where the 55 is and move the stock from the 55 into the 90. We have to move the 55 where the 30 is and move the stock from the 30 to the 55. We've opted to sell the 30 as a package (Penguin 200 filter, stealth heater, stand, tank, plastic lid/light) for probably 60 dollars. There's no room for it. We'll also have to figure out where to move the betta tank because we have to shuffle a few pieces of furniture to fit the 125.

I wish we didn't have to do this crazy tank shuffle but unfortunately we're quite limited by space. It's going to take ALL DAY and we'll need at least 2 other big strong guys to help.

We're going to swap some of the seeded bio-wheel filters around so we won't have to go through a total cycle on the tanks, but maybe a mini-cycle. I'm also going to go ask the LFS for some BB squeezed from their sponge filters, which they have done for us in the past.

Will take pictures as soon as physically possible!

07-03-2010, 04:15 PM
Nuts is right! I thought I was overdoing it...my day is deadly dull compared to yours!

Looking forward to pics!

07-14-2010, 01:43 AM
Ah woe is my life.

Last Wednesday I dropped a bowl of cereal onto my laptop, hence my absence on the forum.

The 125 is still sitting in the spare room. It's cleaned but we've had to put the move on hold for a while. We're hoping to get it done next Monday.

While we were at the LFS picking up some parts, we saw a rotkeil severum that someone had traded in a couple days ago. The fish is MASSIVE, at least 8 inches. He was 25 dollars. Needless to say, we snatched him up. He's been in the tank for about a week now, so he shouldn't be too stressed when we do the switch.

Well, the computer is in the mail and the mother-in-law has left the house. Pictures to come and fishes to move soon!!

07-21-2010, 02:16 PM
I'm entering the realm of DIY!

While moving the 125 from the second bedroom where we had been keeping it to it's final resting place, the "brace" snapped off. I flipped out! I thought the tank would be unusable. Then I realized that the "brace" wasn't a brace at all. It was just a metal bar wedged into the middle, I'm assuming to hold the glass lids. I was still upset until I thought about how old tanks didn't have braces because the glass was so thick. And voila, the glass is EXTREMELY thick. Probably 3/4 of an inch. The silicone is still in good shape, too.

We are still watching for bowing, but in the mean time we're figuring out how to make a brace/a better way to hold the glass lids. The metal bar makes it so the glass lids are uneven. It's kind of stupid.

I'm figuring going with plexiglass and fashioning it similar to a modern brace, where it has a lip for the lids to rest on and then the brace is flush with the tops when they tops are down. Of course it will take precise measurements and a lot of thinking.

To top it off, when we were putting new hinges on the tops (the hinges on the ones given to me were in rough shape) we BROKE one of the glass tops. D'oh! So now we've got one 3 foot glass lid and one 3 foot strip light sitting on the left side of the tank, and the other side is just being covered by lids from Rubbermaid totes. LOL.

We're going to do the DIY brace before we purchase another glass lid. So for now the tank looks pretty silly.

So, does anyone think fashioning a brace with plexiglass is OK? Is there anything else I should do? Does anyone have experience with old tanks without braces?

07-21-2010, 09:10 PM
very nice collection of fish you have there! good thread. thumbs2:

07-23-2010, 04:58 AM
Some pictures!

Please join me in laughing at my tank in it's present state:


It's really quite hysterical. Tomorrow Sam and I both have the day off so we're going to try and figure a DIY way to fix up the tops. We've still got to pick up some things, we're going to add some driftwood that's been soaking for a couple weeks, get a background and some more rocks.



My rotkeil!!!! I LOVE HIM. His name is "Mister Sevy"



*end flipping out*

07-23-2010, 05:02 AM

"Big sevy"



"Gold sevy"


07-23-2010, 05:05 AM
Lil' geos





07-23-2010, 05:31 AM
Wonderful fish and photos! And thank you for posting the journal! I live vicariously through these journals! The next best thing to setting up one's own tank is living through someone else's tank setups! :hmm3grin2orange: Much cheaper and a lot less work Lol!

07-23-2010, 05:37 AM
Your eartheaters look like some form of green eartheater, either abalios, altifrons or surinamensis. Still a bit to small to be 100% on it but im leaning toward Abalios.

Your fish are all very nice and appear to be in excellent condition! Kudos to good fish keeping :22:

07-23-2010, 05:47 AM
That's actually what I was thinking myself, Jenn. I was looking at their tail patterns and their eye coloration I figured they might not be pindare, I was leaning towards altifrons or abalios. Thanks! I try to keep my fish as happy as possible :)

07-23-2010, 05:48 AM
Wonderful fish and photos! And thank you for posting the journal! I live vicariously through these journals! The next best thing to setting up one's own tank is living through someone else's tank setups! :hmm3grin2orange: Much cheaper and a lot less work Lol!

Thanks FishGirl!!

Lady Hobbs
07-23-2010, 01:19 PM
roth, I just luv your tanks and luv your fish! Nice job.

07-23-2010, 01:29 PM
Beautiful fish and photos.

07-24-2010, 01:28 AM
Great looking fish! I really like your Rotkeil, hope to pick up one of those some day.

07-24-2010, 11:39 AM
We saw him and almost peed our pants. He was dirt cheap for such a beautiful, large fish.

07-30-2010, 12:56 AM
I just heard my clown loaches clicking for the first time. It was so exciting!!

Also, tomorrow is a big day.

1) I'm going to pick up a gorgeous African featherfin catfish for the 125. Only 15 dollars and she's at least 6 inches.
2) Purchase some more driftwood
3) Hopefully order a canopy for the 125. We've decided to ixnay the glass tops and go for the canopy.

.... pay day is really a bad day for me.

08-28-2010, 03:56 AM
Oh snap.




08-28-2010, 03:58 AM
And Mr. Sevy



08-29-2010, 01:16 PM
So we finally finished paying off the canopy (check out the posts prior to this one for pictures!!). I can't believe I didn't think of this before. This tank looks amazing!

I think we're pretty much done with stocking. We're still trying to rehome a few fish, including a severum or two. I think we're going to rehome the gold and a green one. I'm just apprehensive because I don't want to take them to a LFS and not know if they're going to a good home or not!

Does anyone want a severum or two? Both fish are easily 5 or 6 inches long, and because they're severum they are pretty wide too! I equate them to dinner plates...

I also, at some point soon, want to rehome and restock the fish in the African tank. I really want the tank to be only mbuna and right now we've just got this mishmash of mbuna and Malawi hybrids.

The fish that I've got in there that I'm pretty sure are mbuna:

3 zebras (red "blotch", red albino, cobalt blue)
2 bumblebee
1 yellow tail acei
1 electric yellow lab
1 female auratus

There's also a couple fish that are obviously hybrids. One has typical mbuna shape, and is this kind of mustard color with black barring and black fins. Another looks similar to a male kenyi but has slightly darker barring. There's another possible hybrid fish that looks very similar to Astatotilapia latifasciata.
There's two that have the peacock shape. I believe one is a German red. The other is really quite beautiful and I have grown very fond of him. He's got a dull purple head and fins with a dull olive colored body with very slight purple barring.
There's also a female venustus.

I'm pretty sure that mix of mbuna/cichlids in general is no good. I'd nix the auratus, the hybrid mbuna-looking fish, and the Astatotilapia-looking fish. I'm kind of hesitant to rehome the peacock-looking fish simply because I really like the olive colored one, and the German red cost me a pretty penny! I'd probably take out one of the bumblebee too.

Any suggestions are welcome!!!