Ok, so here it goes. Brace yourself for a nice long post here…
I am new to aquariums and it was more of an accidental hobby then a planned one. It all started at work. We moved offices and I got a nice new spacious office and wanted some “tranquility” in my life. So I went to the local fish store and bought a nice Eclipse system (I think the 5 gallon). I figured it would melt away some stress when needed. I won’t get into the tank set-up to much (simply because this is not my “feature” tank now but rather my “got-me-addicted” tank). I have a lovely crown tail beta, a few neon’s, 4 beautiful guppies, one albino Cory, one peppered Cory, one pleco, and one Marbled Angelfish. Most likely a bit too much for the 5 gallon but everybody seems happy for the time being (I assume I will have to move the angle when he/she matures)
Once I got the tank set-up a few of my co-workers took notice of it and shared their own interests in aquatics. Getting to the point, one of my co-workers offered me their old 40 gallon (maybe 45). I of course accepted graciously and I was off with my new hobby. Got the tank home, stole my girlfriend’s dresser and began a nice tank set-up. I did a LOT of research online so I was not “uneducated” going into this, but rather just new at it. I mixed my own color of gravel, bought a new filter (penguin 200), got a few sword plants, and a small school of Neon’s (plus all your “starter” chemicals, bacteria, treatments, etc…) I was happy with the initial set-up (and so was my kitty).
The next day I went to my LFS and got a few pieces of drift wood, a few rhasbora’s, a blue pearl gourami, and some Java Ferns. I attached the ferns to the driftwood for a nice look and made a nice cave in a corner with some rocks I had bought. The tank looked nice.
After a good few minutes of admiring my tank, I noticed something strange. My tank appeared to be “bowing” out a bit. I took a closer look at the tank from the side and sure enough it was bowing about one inch on each side. Apparently I did not notice but the tank did not have its top center brace. It had broken off years ago (and to add to this, it had no bottom frame).
I figured my old co-worker had it set-up like this so I should not be worried. The next day I went to my LFS and asked about it (and showed pictures). Their jaw dropped and basically said “I would be surprised if you don’t go home to a floor full of water, gravel and fish today “(and most likely a happy kitty). Well that was during my lunch break so now I had the remaining work day to worry to death about my tank. After work I head back to the LFS and asked about fixing/replacing the lid to the tank. They basically said that It might be cheaper/easier to purchase a new tank rather than going through the trouble of removing the top frame and installing both a top and bottom frame for support. I would have to sleep on this one. I got home, lowered the level of water (to reduce pressure) and slept on the idea of getting a new tank.
Sure enough I found myself at the LFS purchasing a 55 gallon tank the next day. I got the new tank, a two bulb light system, glass top, and a few other supplies. I had to stop at home depot on the way home and get a piece of plywood that would fit under the tank since the new 55gallon was longer then my dresser. That afternoon was fun. I guess I knew it, but never realized how much of a pain in the ass it was to change out fish tanks. 5 hours later there was water, gravel, and buckets everywhere, one very interested kitty and a mess of fish supplies. I stayed up to finish the project that evening; it was a long night…
As it turns out, I ran out of gravel and materials for the tank. The 55 gallon is much longer then my previous tank so it looked a bit “unfinished”. The next day I went back to the LFS and got some more gravel, plants, etc… I also got some more tank mates. I spotted some very nice looking Cory’s and went home with two of them. After doing some research on them I found out they were Corydoras Sterbai.
They were very playful swimming up and down in the currents. (I forgot to mention when I got home I had the first death in the tank. Unfortunately the Blue Pearl Gourami did not make it though the tank transition. I noticed him acting a bit funny but thought he may recover from it, unfortunately he did not. I gave him a good funeral and a proper burial (toilet)) I did some more research on the Sterbai Cory’s to realize they like to be in shoals of 4-6. I figured I would return to the LFS and get 2 more to make a nice family. When I got to the store they had just gotten a new fish shipment in. I had been doing a lot of research on what fish to keep in my tank and the idea of Blue Rams was atop in my mind. Sure enough, they had a tank of 5 blue rams. (I did not know it at the time but they were long finned blue rams). I could not resist the urge so I picked out 3 of them and also got 2 more Sterbai’s and brought them home. YouTube - Long Finned Blue Rams Into Tank
I assimilated them to the new tank over a one hour period (floated bag for 30 mins then added a bit of my tank water to their bag every 10 mins for another 30 mins). They slipped right into the tank and did make themselves at home. Within a few minutes their stress bands had disappeared and they seemed to be happy. The Sterbai’s immediately found their other two buddies and they swam around in their little shoal for a while. It was fun to watch.
At this point you may be thinking “ what is this guy thinking, adding all these fish with no testing, no biological cycle established etc…” I just want to add I had been checking levels of Nitrate, Nitrite, Ammonia, PH, Hardness, and Alkalinity each night. I know I should be expecting “spikes” soon but I had purchased a lot of “starter” chemicals including the bacteria themselves so I thought I would be ok.
In the next few days I purchased an air pump, another penguin (150) filter, some more plants, and rocks to make a nice cave hoping to get a pair of blue rams eventually and provide them with a nice spawning location. In the process of purchasing the extra’s I had gone to a second LFS. They had some Beautiful rams in stock which were much different from my long finned blue rams I had at home. I again could not resist the urge so I sat at the tank and picked out 5. I hoped to pick out 3 females and 2 males. Brought them home and assimilated them as I did the previous ones. Apparently I did pick ok because I got lucky and got a wonderful pair out of the 5. YouTube - Pair of Blue Rams Male/Female
They took over the cave and the male began to fight off some of the other males. Now knowing that I had too many males to females, I returned two of the long finned blue rams (I loved the third and could not return him) to the LFS so they would not stress out over each other so much.
So now I have 6 rams in the tank. I have successfully sexed out 3 males (2 regular and one long fin) and one female. The other two I cannot determine for sure.
Here is the dominant Female
Here is one of the “un-sexed” Blue Rams I have, any thoughts? ( I don’t have any pictures of the other one, yet)
So here we are, I have my tank near completion (going to add some more plants when the time comes) and I am extremely happy with it. I have a beautiful pair of blue rams (and hopefully another pair will arise). All the hard work, Loads of cash, and creativeness has paid off. YouTube - My 55gallon Freshwater Fish tank Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to introduce myself, explain my story, and I guess show off my tank a little.