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Discussion Starter #1
Th'other week, I bought a 20 gallon set up with 7 assorted Loaches in it. 2 Weather Loaches, 1 Pallid Sand Loach, an Angelicus, a Yoyo, and 3 Striatas. I did the math and realized that the tank was overstocked from the get go, and that I was going to need more Yoyos and Angelicus to keep them happy, and that was going to take a lot of real estate. After Looking for a couple of weeks, I found a fellow unloading a 50 gallon breeder with the works for a reasonable price, so I brought it home, set it up, and started landscaping.

Here it is:

Pardon my crappy foto-skillz and sub-par camera.

It's got 10" Bubble wands buried under the pebbles to the left and across the back right (you can see the check valve). I'll be filling in the plants with cuttings from my other tanks over the course of this month. Right now, there are six feeder guppies in there cycling the tank.

Here are some closer shots:

The plantings to the left. I'm going to add a bunch more wisteria in the back left, and Cabomba and Hygro across the back, and a couple more of those nice crypts in front of that. You cant see from this angle, but theres a little beach in front of the crypt for staging bloodworms and such. Hoping that the java moss I have going on that red shale will turn into a nice little lawn.


Half flowerpots buried in the substrate. Again, you cant see the beach from the angle, but it's fine sand mostly in front of the pots. Going to try and encourage saggitaria to grow around that big rock, and transplant some Swords from other tanks in front of the filter intake.
 

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Wow you just got everything planned out now dontcha!!! Thats a good thing though. Cant wait to see it all set up and all the loaches happy in there home! It already is looking good
 

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Goona look really nice when it is all going. I didn't see any caves for the loaches though :shock: . They might need them to establish some of their own little territories.

One other thing is the plants look like a lot of good choices but loaches love to tear them up when dashing around a tank, I know my botia did it all the time. Might want a little deeper substrate to help keep the plants down a little better.

I will have to keep yours in mind if I ever decide to go with an eel tank. I know loaches aren't eels, but I love flame eels and they have so much personality from what a friend has told me.

One Question, do you plan to raise pond snails or any other live fod for them all?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
fish_4_all said:
Goona look really nice when it is all going. I didn't see any caves for the loaches though :shock: . They might need them to establish some of their own little territories.
Third picture down, four half flowerpots buried in the substrate. Also, the largest piece of the Java Moss lawn is propped up. I've noticed that the Dojo's make their home in a patch of Wisteria in their current tank. Finally, there are smaller rocks in their current tank that make three good caves. Those will move when they move. If I need more space, I have more rocks, too. :)

fish_4_all said:
One other thing is the plants look like a lot of good choices but loaches love to tear them up when dashing around a tank, I know my botia did it all the time. Might want a little deeper substrate to help keep the plants down a little better.
Substrate is nearly 7" deep in the back, 3" in the front. These plants are rooted as solidly as time and growth will allow.

fish_4_all said:
I will have to keep yours in mind if I ever decide to go with an eel tank. I know loaches aren't eels, but I love flame eels and they have so much personality from what a friend has told me.

One Question, do you plan to raise pond snails or any other live fod for them all?
You'll want to make much more of the sand open at the surface for eels. They love to dig into it. That's part of the reason I have left some open sand, so that the loaches will have an easier place to root around than the planted areas.

I don't raise pond snails so much as am afflicted by them. I could easily give them 2 dozen a day. As is, I have started dumping snails into the new tank to get a critical mass for a moving day escargot feast. I also keep frozen and freeze dried blood worms, frozen brine shrimp, and freeze dried tubifex on hand. I chuck in the occasional algae wafer as well, as the sand loach and dojos seem to really enjoy them.
 

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I guess my eyes didn't catch all the little details. It looks really cool with the way the pots are hidden. From the pictures I thought that it was chips of pots and not actual caves. It also made it look like the gravel was fairly shallow.

I will have to watch the progress well so I can plan one if I ever get a big enough tank set up. My thought was to have mostly sand so they can play and bury themselves anytime they want to.

Can't wait to see the plant growth and how it takes form.

Is there another type of gravel underneath?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks to all, Nick and dprUsh83 and fish_4_all and crazie.eddie, for the kind words.

fish_4_all said:
Is there another type of gravel underneath?
Yeah, it's layered:
First is 1/2 to 3" of sand as a base and to get the flowerpots covered and smoothed. Then there's some leftover white spectrastone raising the back some more. Down the left side and across the back right are 10" bubble wands, buried in river pebbles. I've used the pebbles too to outline where the planting base goes: That's 1 to 2" of Fluorite topped with tan spectra-stone small grade gravel, another 1 to 2" deep. I've also got some flourish root tabs to put in around any swords (and I really ought to tuck one into the dwarf lily in the extreme front right corner.) I may yet put some more sand in the areas I left bare.

And yes, I am going to get some MTS in there in the next week or so - about 10 to start. (My LFS sells them 10 for a buck).
 

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Discussion Starter #10
rev said:
I WANNA SEE THE LOACHES TOO !!
Patience, grasshopper. Tank not yet ready. All pictures in little tank very crappy.
:mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #11
('S Odd; First time I try to reply to a thread here, I get kicked to the top of the fora. :dunno:)

Well, it was Small Tank Maintenance Night , so I got more more plants (cuttings and plants that were't doing well) to add to the loach motel.

Starting to fill in a bit on the right:

Snapped this after the first light had gone off and minuted before the second shut down for the evening, so it's dimmer and pinker than the other pix.

There was a big ol' Crypt I was sold as a "Tropica Sword" when I was inexperienced and stupid that was so coated in snail eggs that I figured it was time to yank it. I divided it into about 6 plants. Added another stem of wisteria (more of that tomorrow when I do the 55 in the living room), and bulked up the Hygro and Cabomba. Also pulled an Ozelot Sword out of one of the tanks. The way it was positioned it wasn't getting anywhere near enough light, and it too was snail city. That's right in front of the big filter intake.

Added a dozen 3/4" guppy fry and another 2 dozen or more pond snails to help cycle. Suppose I ought to do tests. Well, tomorrow is Big Tank Maintenance day...
 

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Your loaches should be able to eat the snails and snail eggs.:)
:shock2: Stunning tank.:blink:
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank, Blue. :D
All my loach shaped loaches love them some snails - they go cuckoo when I drop a dozen in the holding tank - my lizard and worm shaped loaches, not so much.
 

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tophat665 said:
Thank, Blue. :D
All my loach shaped loaches love them some snails - they go cuckoo when I drop a dozen in the holding tank - my lizard and worm shaped loaches, not so much.
Worm-shaped would be kuhlis and weather loaches.:tongue: Do you have kuhlis in there?:squint: Would be nice.:welldone:
Lizard?:bluelaugh: Which one?:mrgreen: The striatas and yoyos?:mrgreen:
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In this tank, there will be two Weather loaches. The Sand Loach is sort of Lizard Shaped, sort of goby shaped. Neat little critter. No Kuhlis, not in this tank.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Did the full battery of tests tonight:
Ammonia: 0+ (just the tiniest bit greener than yellow. Not nearly so green as the .25 ppm strip - the first one after 0)
Nitrite: 0+ (again, just a hair darker than the 0, much lighter than the .25)
Nitrate: Could be 40, could be 80 - to my eye, the test strip is identical.
pH: 7.4 (need to chuck a little peat in the filter)
kH: 2
gH: 14

It's only been running a week, but the biowheel on the Penguin 3 is from an established tank (it spent the night in a ziploc of aquarium water, but it was running the next day), and some of the bottom layer of gravel is also from an established tank. I think this might could be cycled.

I'll test it again tomorrow, and if I get the same readings, I'm going to pop the striatas and the yoyo over.

Added some more Bacopa to the right side. Starting to get some balance.
 

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Nitrates are a little high, if the test is accurate. It is hard to get accurate readings even for the best of us. I had to calibarte my test twice before I could get accurate readings.

I can NOT recommend putting any delicate fish in until you are sure the CYCLE is OVER! It can be slow but it can happen even if you have plants in there. I cycle with plants now and won't add fish for at least 3 week or until I see 0 Ammonia and nitrates, not even a trace. The plants will use it some but it still can be deadly to your fish. My normal cycle is 2 months even with plants. I don't even test until week 6 with a fishless cycle with seasoned filter, gravel and plants.

Try this, maybe it will help to determine if things are cool or not. If you can, test your tanks 2 hours before any light hits them in the morning. This will be a better indicator of if you have low enough ammonia levels to be safe to add fish. With your nitrates being so high, I would guess the plants are using a lot of ammonia instead of nitrates and the levels could be dangerously high.

GH is high, I thought my tanks were the only ones that got that high. No biggy, just make sure to add a little Mg or Ca to your water right after the water change or put it into the water before adding it. I have been told GH shock can be as bad as pH shock.
 

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AWESOME TANK!!!
Blue, while I know how much you love the kuhlis, that wouldn't be a safe place for them. The sand loaches and weather loaches would try to eat them eventually, as those guys can get to be a good size, and tend to be more aggressive than what a kuhli can handle.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thank you 'baby!

F4A - while this isn't a fishless cycle (a dozen small guppies and several dozen pond snails are in the tank), I do hear and heed you.

Today's measurements - Ammonia: Solid .25 ppm, Nitrite: trace, Nitrate: Still ureadable, but definitely over 40.

Going to wait a week and check again. Grumble. Gripe. :|
 

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Sorry tophat, but I saw one on my other forum that had massive amounts of plants during a cycle and tested during the day and was getting 0 ammonnia, when he tested first thing in the morning it was over 2. Was too late for some guppies and neons. I just hate to lose such beautiful fish like your loaches, especially at the cost and how difficult they can be to get sometimes. Their tank was a month old but they also didn't know to do water changes and general maintenance. You have a good grasp on it and it won't be long before you can get that beauty of a tank reving with activity.

Just want to make sure of one other thing. The loaches will be a little larger and produce a little more waste but with the plants you have, the extra ammonia should be used by the plants until the bacteria get caught up. Just make sure to keep up with the water changes if your nitrates spike because the plants aren't using them up fast enough, The wisteria should really knock them down but better safe than sorry.

Have you tried to calibrate you NO3 test?
 
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