4ft Tank Relaunch. FW Planted.
Hello all, I have been reading through the journals on this page and they are the most incredible (and at times jealousy inducing) threads. This seems like a fantastic bunch of people and I thought you all might not mind too much if I gushed about the setting up of my tank (since these things tend to be minor obsessions).
My 4ft tank has been sitting idle for far too long, so I've started to clean it up to keep fish again at last. (I'm not good with standard sizes - I think it's a 55 gallon going by the standard sizing charts, but I'm not very good at measuring the height while it's in its stand)
After a thorough strip down and clean out, I bought myself a new light strip (a nice new LED strip which is soooo much nicer than the single T8 bulb I had previously).
My mother in law has also just rebooted her tank, so we offered to buy her fish as her Christmas present, however she requested plants instead, so we went to the lfs where they fortuitously were having a buy one get one free sale on planted driftwood. Now you would think the sensible thing here would be to buy two and split them, one for my MIL, one for my own tank, but apparently my husband, the sweetheart, is not a sensible man so we ended up with two small driftwood with anubias each.
I also picked up a small sword plant and some root tabs (since I'm planting these things in sand).
(Darn - I was going to add a picture but straight from the phone they're far too huge, I'll have to work out how to resize it first).
Looks like you're off to a great restart!
Are you going to do the full cycle before adding fish (MIL Also)? Any particular stocking ideas yet? I would place the flower pot on its side so it's more cave-like. And you've got plenty of room for more plants. Look into some crypts, like crypt wendtii, bronze or green.
Sadly the tank already has fish without managing to do a fishless cycle. The only ammonia I could locate here in Australia was very foamy cloudy ammonia and while I was feeding the tank fish food while waiting to put fish in it, that never seemed to have much effect on the overall ammonia levels (after I got my test kit).
So, there's one group of fishies in, and I foresee many water changes in my future.
Speaking of which, the flowerpot is functional, not decorative which is why it isn't on its side... That's where the water stream from the bucket hits which leaves the sand substrate fairly undisturbed from the whole thing. If I come up with a better solution to water changes I plan to toss it on its side, or possibly even plant it, but for now, it stays. Not necessarily forever though.
So, I had a clean but very depressingly bare tank, step two was plants. Went plant shopping at a lfs local to us this time, and promptly decided that when the time came we'd be getting fish from the MILs lfs, because the plants were ok, but the fish tanks were kinda depressing (DH apparently counted 3 where fishies were munching on deceased tankmates). Also, it looks like I'll be special ordering most of my stock list, which MILs store is happy to do.
Picked up a random collection of plants, some might work, some might not, but it's all planted. Some crypt Undulati (quite nice, might pick up another crypt later), some wisteria, bacopa (which I totally thought was going to die, every leaf on it turned brown after I planted it, then it shot up a good inch or two of brilliant green new growth, so it might make it after all) and some blyxa. I also got some new driftwood - my driftwood to date has always been quite log or stump looking, but I've seen the spectacular tanks here (and elsewhere on the net) with more branchy type pieces, plus the tank seriously needed some height, so we found 2 new pieces of driftwood as well.
Tank after new driftwood and plants:DSC_0096.jpg
So, I did want to do a fishless cycle, but tank safe ammonia proved impossible to find, and I was having no luck getting stable readings from adding fish food so I broke down and added the first group of fishies. The tank had been running for a month at this point, with fish food added for most of that, so it's not a completely new tank, but I'm being careful with them.
Anyway, when my husband found out I was setting the tank back up, he immediately requested a school of neon tetras. I don't mind neon tetras, but have had them in almost every tank and wanted to try new fish this time, but keeping the DH happy is important to a well run fishtank :) so I agreed he could choose a school of fish, whatever he wanted (as long as it fit with the other fish I wanted).
So, we went to the lfs, had a look around all the tanks, I ooohed over the sparkling gouramis and the endlers, DH looked at all the smallish tetras and rasboras, and chose..
Well, not neons :) So the tanks first inhabitants are 9 Black Phantom Tetras.
Cute little guys, not exactly the schooling fish I was expecting from "Peaceful tetra fish" (Yes, we looked them up on SeriouslyFish while in the store), but they do look very cool when they do the full fin extension display.
There's been a little bit of squabbling for position going on, but they have plenty of places to hide and no one is ending up with torn fins, so I'm assuming it's not serious.
They did not like being bagged up at all...
But started to get the colour back the next day.
Hmm, I am not fond of this ammonia test, so hard to tell the difference between zero and 0.25. Ammonia is between 0 and 0.25 today, no sign of Nitrites, haven't tested Nitrates yet.
That makes 7 days the fishies have been in the tank, and I've done 2 waterchanges so far on account of non-zero ammonia readings.
Plans for the tank:
The question I had for myself regarding stocking this tank was: what species of cory do I want?
Not, do I want corys, because that was a given, but what species.
There are some restrictions, fish are much less readily available and much more expensive on the whole here in Australia, so it couldn't be a species too rare or pricey. In the past I've kept peppered corys and they are adorable, but they are also kind of large, and I was thinking it might be fun to have a group of 10-12 of a slightly smaller species rather than the usual 6-8 Peppereds.
Given that it seems to come down to a choice between Panda and Sterbai. DH votes strongly in favour of Pandas, and they tend to be cheaper, so it's looking like Panda corys it is. This means the tank will be slightly on the cool side (I'll keep it at 23-24C), which sadly rules out bettas and the sparkling gouramis that were so very pretty.
Next I was randomly browsing through lists of tetras online looking for tankmates and came across Blue Emperor Tetras, which have totally taken my fancy. Of course this is from only photos and a youtube video, I've never actually seen one in person. My only hesitation with these now is that I'm afriad they might be too similar behavour wise to the phantoms with the squabbling for hierarchy rather than schooling.
Last, I want one schooling fish, fairly small so I can have a nice sized school and colourful. The fish I was looking at in the store included harlequin rasboras, ember tetras and emerald eye rasboras, but I'm really not decided on this yet.
So, to sum up:
9 Black Phantom Tetras (already in tank)
10 Panda Corys(would like 12, but sheesh fish are expensive in Australia)
8-10 Blue Emperor Tetras
12-15 small schooling fish(harlequins, emerald eyes, ember tetras, cardinals, neons...)
That would make me happy, it's not an overstocked tank by any means, and lacks a feature fish, but I think I'm ok with that, I am quite fond of groups of fish, and without the ability to get a betta, I don't know what feature fish I'd want anyway.
It's the API master test kit yeah, and my tapwater is definitely 0.25 (I make sure not to skimp on the prime, I assume it's testing that way from Chloramine?).
So yeah, still more yellow than my tap water right now :)
Good looking tank. Are Cory hasborsus available where you live? And holly cow. Just look at a online fish store there. Man the prices are high.
Last edited by cm12setx; Yesterday at 01:33 AM.
Does your LFS carry Seachem Ammonia Alerts? These go in the tank and give a constant reading of free ammonia (toxic). They last about 9 months and remove the guesswork regarding ammonia readings from the API liquid tests.
And cories should only be added when your tank has been up and running for a couple of months and your nitrates are under control. They live at the bottom, where nitrates are highest.
My 75 gal Journal & My Dual 29 gal Journal
My 75 gal - Gold Pristella Tetras, Scissortail Rasboras, Neon Dwarf Rainbowfish, Leopard & Zebra Danios, Wild Caught BNP
My Dual 29 gals - Left Tank - Diamond Tetras. Right Tank - Harlequin Rasboras
Future 40 Long - Rummynose Tetras and Cories
"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass....it's about learning to dance in the rain"