Tropical Fish Keeping - Aquarium fish care and resources

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TropicalMax 05-04-2009 01:35 PM

New to Aquariums-55g Planted Tank, Story, Pictures and Video
 
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)
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0131.jpg
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).
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0135.jpg
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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0143.jpg
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).
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0140.jpg
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…
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0145.jpg
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_0144.jpg
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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...rasSterbai.jpg
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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2164.jpg
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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2203.jpg

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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2169.jpg
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
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2209.jpg
Here is one of the “un-sexed” Blue Rams I have, any thoughts? ( I don’t have any pictures of the other one, yet)
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2201.jpg
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.
http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k6...k/IMG_2184.jpg

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.

TropicalMax 05-04-2009 01:37 PM

Ich
 
I forgot to ask, what are you best methods in battling ICH. my Long Fin Blue Ram developed some white spots on his fins and that is a sign of ICH. i would prefer not to use medication to preserve all the good bacteria i developed. i have heard increasing water temp and salt? any suggestions?

Twistersmom 05-04-2009 02:49 PM

Your tank looks beautiful!!!
I probably do not need to say this since you have been doing your research, but blue rams are extremely sensitive fish, not recommened for new setups. Don't slack on those water test. Sometimes cycle products don't work, but I hope for you they do.
I use the heat salt treatment for ick.
I am not sure if you have salt in your tank now. I don't use salt in my tanks, so when treating for ick I add 1Tab for every 5 gallons. I add this over a few days time to give the fish a chance to adapt.
You want to slowly increase to tempt. of the tank. I raise the tank to 86 deg, but I try not to raise it more than one deg a day. If you can bump it up 1/2 deg every 12 hrs, that would be great.
When the tank is at 82 deg, it becomes to warm for the ick to stay on the fish. The ick will start dropping off. At 86 deg, this sould kill any free swimming ick. You want to leave the tank at 86 deg for a week after there are no visible signs of ick. Then slowly decrease tempt. to your normal setting.
Heat depreciates oxygen levels, so be sure to increase the air in the tank.
It would be good to QT any new fish added later, any new fish, you risk another ick outbreak.
Good luck!

TropicalMax 05-04-2009 03:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Twistersmom (Post 192799)
Your tank looks beautiful!!!
I probably do not need to say this since you have been doing your research, but blue rams are extremely sensitive fish, not recommened for new setups. Don't slack on those water test. Sometimes cycle products don't work, but I hope for you they do.
I use the heat salt treatment for ick.
I am not sure if you have salt in your tank now. I don't use salt in my tanks, so when treating for ick I add 1Tab for every 5 gallons. I add this over a few days time to give the fish a chance to adapt.
You want to slowly increase to tempt. of the tank. I raise the tank to 86 deg, but I try not to raise it more than one deg a day. If you can bump it up 1/2 deg every 12 hrs, that would be great.
When the tank is at 82 deg, it becomes to warm for the ick to stay on the fish. The ick will start dropping off. At 86 deg, this sould kill any free swimming ick. You want to leave the tank at 86 deg for a week after there are no visible signs of ick. Then slowly decrease tempt. to your normal setting.
Heat depreciates oxygen levels, so be sure to increase the air in the tank.
It would be good to QT any new fish added later, any new fish, you risk another ick outbreak.
Good luck!

Thanks for the advice. Do you know how the salt would interact with my plants? does the salt mess with the bio filters? during the salt treatment do i still proceed with water changes as normal?

Twistersmom 05-04-2009 03:52 PM

The tablespoon per 5 gallons will not harm your cycle or your plants
Continue with your water changes, extra water changes will even help remove some of the swimming ick.
You just want to replace the amount of salt you take out during the water change. (while treating for ick) Say you change out 10 gal of water, add 2 tablespoons back in. Be sure to dessolve the salt in water first, so it will not burn them.
The tempt. will be warmer, so try to match new water with tank water tempt.

MBilyeu 05-04-2009 05:41 PM

You will probably see the ich disappear after 5-7 days, but keep the heat and salt going til at least days 10 just to be safe. Also I always lower the water level of the tank so your filter will create a noisy waterfall effect. This will provide better airation which the fish will need at higher temps.

TropicalMax 06-10-2009 03:32 PM

hey all, dont have much time for a write-up (as im at work) but i just wanted to post a quick video of my tank, redone for hopefully the last time.

got a few stories since i last left off (ICH breakout) some good, some bad i'll have to fill you all in later

Hope you enjoy the video

YouTube - MaxsPlantedWorld

SinCrisis 06-10-2009 03:39 PM

the large tank looks awesome, you might want to put the pleco in your 5 gallon into the larger tank since they grow super big. The 5 gallon is quite overstocked but eclipse systems have excellent filtration in my experience so you may be ok. I also had a 20 gallon that was bowing at the front and i switched to another also. Better safe than sorry. However, those tanks can still be half filled and have internal filters or canisters and turned into quarantine tanks. Also, what kind of filter are you using? a power filter or canister?

Unrulyevil 06-10-2009 04:32 PM

I love posts like this! With pictures and everything! Nice! I would change that dresser for appropriate stand. It does not look convincing to me when you have edged of the tank sticking out like that ans besides I do not think that this dresser will hold like it should.

Arkamaic 06-10-2009 04:45 PM

Wow, awesome looking tank. I'm planning on getting some Blue Rams here at some point as well =) I'm really excited.

And thats cool how you got into the hobby, how it worked out so perfectly. Keep up the good work!!


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