55 Gallon - Better Late that never on the Journal
So I started this project back in Sept. Some folks at work started an office fish tank and I was hooked immediately. I did plenty of research before I started, but somehow still needed lots of help.
I went to craigslist and found a 55 gallon with a stand and cover, a penguin 350 HOB filter, a fluval U3 filter, a heater, and two air pumps, and two 4 foot light fixtures with bulbs, two gravel vaccuums, and a fresh water liquid test kit for $140 and it was only 2 miles from my house. SWEET! Unfortunately I did not take pictures at this step in the process.
I took it all back to my garage and began the process of miticulously cleaning everything. Threw away old ornaments and substrate, and did my best to make the tank look brand new.
Added my own substrate and decorations, filled the tank with water and got the process started. I did decide to go with a Fish-In cycle. I started with 6 Tiger Barbs, 8 black neon tetras, and 1 Albino Cory Cat. I used a double dose of prime and used TLC Start Smart Bacteria Booster.
I did my daily water testing and made some mistakes right off the bat. My ammonia looked to alway be registering zero since i wasnt letting it sit long enough, and I got mL and oz mixed up with the Start Smart, so I didnt add nearly enough good bacteria. Soooo, I added the right amount of Bacteria starter, and kept adding small doses every 3-4 days. I also tested ammonia properly and it was 2ppm steady even after massive water changes. Turns out the tap water was treated with Chloramines and the water straight from the tap was testing 2ppm ammonia. So I backed off water changes and just hoped for the best.
I also got impatient and slowly added more fish before the cycling was done, based on fish that were on sale at the LFS and how much I liked them. I got some more cory cats, an opaline gourami, a rainbow shark, 2 more tiger barbs, and 6 cardinal tetras, and a rubber lip pleco over the course of a month. Bad news...I lost all cardinal tetras and 4 cory cats, the rubber lip and a black neon during this time. Everything else survived and are still a part of my community tank.
I also wanted to do semi-planted. I started off with two anubias, one java fern and two moss balls. All have done well. I wanted a peaceful asian theme to the tank which I hopefully accomplished.
After two full weeks of 2ppm ammonia spike and two full weeks of 5ppm nitrite spike, I finally got cycled with 0ppm ammo, 0 ppm nitrite, and 20 ppm nitrate. After that, water changes and water quality have been pain free.
I started slowly stocking the rest of the tank. I filled out the schooling fish to 10 fish each, Tiber barbs, Black Neons, and Glo-Light Neons. I got a pack of peppered cory cats (6) Julii Corys (4), 10 Ghost shrimp, a clown pleco, and a Chinese Algae Eater. Over time I picked up some other cherry and amano shrimp, a blue mystery snail. Everything worked...for a short time.
The first thing to cause trouble was a bad batch of Cory Cats from the LFS. They all had some kind of fin rot that killed half of them. Today I have 7 corys, 5 peppered, 1 Julii (which is actually a 3 line) and a Sterbai. But I had a lot of turnover there for a while.
Then the shrimp and some fish would go into the hollow decorations and either get stuck or lost or never come out. So I had to replace two major decorations in the tank. Luckly the LFS allowed the return. Soon after the tiger barbs ate all the shrimp.
I picked up a few more plants, and an occasional fish, all over the past 45 days. But all is well, water is clear and everyday is a treat to come home and watch the tank with my two boys. We enjoy feeding a variety of food, Tropical Crisps, frozen Brine Shrimp and Blood Worms, Veggie Rounds, fresh cucumber.
The latest addition to the tank has been a longnose whiptail pleco that I almost walked past at the LFS. Very cool!
Of course there are some details that were skipped, a small bout with ich that I conquered and some other fish drama, and a few more plants, but I will keep more detailed notes from here on.
Oh and here is the latest tank picture. I added an aponogenin, some aquatic onion bulbs, micro sword and dwarf hairgrass.
DEC 2012 Tank
21 DEC 2012:
Current total Stock:
10 Tiger Barbs
10 Black Neon Tetras
10 GloLite Tetras
5 Peppered Cory Cats
1 Sterbai Cory
1 Leopard Cory
1 Clown Pleco
1 Chinese Algae Eater
1 Rainbow Shark
1 Opaline Gourami
1 Longnose Whiptail Catfish
1 Blue Mystery Snail
3 Nerite Snails
2 Amano Shrimp (hiding behind filter 24 hours a day)
2 Anubias Nana
1 Java Fern (constantly dropping Java Fern babies)
2 Moss Balls (getting bigger)
2 aquatic onions
Dwarf Hair Grass
Just working on photo documentation of tank inhabitants and how they progress over time.
24 DEC 2012
24 DEC 2012:
Glo-Lite Tetras and Microsword:
Black Neon Tetras: