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I went shopping today and picked up a new aquarium and glass lid. This is going to be the start of upgrading one of my tanks to something larger. The new 20 gallon long is still small, but I don't have the space for anything larger. Someday I will be able to combine my two Southeast Asian microfish aquariums into one large one, but that is still a time away. For now I'm just happy to be getting something bigger than a 10 gallon. The 55 just has to stay in the basement, while my dreams of a 75 are also on hold.

There's literally nothing to show for the new tank. It's an empty aquarium and glass lid. So instead I'll show off a few pictures of the tank that it is replacing. The pictures are a month or two old, because my batteries are dead. I even tried switching them out with the ones in all my remotes. I just spent two hours in the car going to the fish store and back, so I'm not going out for batteries. Newer pics will have to wait. I'm just too excited to wait to post though.







Right now the tank is home to pond snails and 8 Boraras naevus, as well as a range of plants (14 kinds!). I love how it looks but want the extra space for more plants and a lot more fish.

The filter (Finnex PX-360 mini canister) will be moving from the 10 to the 20 long. It's rated for 100 gph, so should be good. I will need a new light and am leaning towards a 30" T5NO. With as fast as my floaters grow that should be the perfect amount of light. I'm also going to use Miracle Gro Organic Choice Potting Mx again, although this time I might use Estes marine sand as a cap. I'm trying to figure out if black sand would look goofy with the rocks I have currently. I do like really dark substrates though. I'm also trying to figure out the way to go with driftwood, ie use the piece I have, a larger manzanita piece, or a whole bunch of smaller pieces.

When the change over is ready to happen the fish will be moved to another tank for a few weeks to make sure the substrate isn't leaching ammonia. When it's deemed safe they will be put back in.

That's basically where I'm at. Now the fun part, which is getting to decide on which fish and plants. I have some ideas, but I'll save that for another post.
 

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Ordered a few more things for the new tank tonight. I got a Coralife 30" T5NO light and a 6700k bulb to replace the one bulb that it comes with. That will make both bulbs 6700k. Heard really good things about that fixture on this size tank after a ton of research. If it proves to be too much light then there are certainly easy ways to cut it back enough. I'm doubting that will be needed, but you never know.

Oddly enough the bulb and light are both being sent from the fish store I was at yesterday. I had looked at the fixture and thought I saw it cheaper on Amazon. I did, but was surprised when it was from the same place. It works out to be the same amount with the shipping. I'm unsure if I saved any on the bulb because I didn't price that at the store and shipping for the two was combined. At worst I paid the same and just have to wait a few days. Not a problem, as I still have things (plants, lots and lots of plants) to get.

The other thing I got was Tahitian moon sand. It sparkles apparently! lol That is pretty unmanly for a tank, but somehow I think I'll be able to manage.
 

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Made my first stupid mistake. The Tahitian moon sand I bought last night was only a 5 lbs bag. A quarter of what I need, so I've had to order even more. Hopefully that will be my last screw up.
 

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Made my first stupid mistake. The Tahitian moon sand I bought last night was only a 5 lbs bag. A quarter of what I need, so I've had to order even more. Hopefully that will be my last screw up.
That sucks but atleast you are not having to wait to setup the tank till the sand comes in. Well am assuming you are still waiting on the other stuff still. LoL
I add no clue that Tahitian moon sparkled that's funny. Does it sparkle are alot? Is it like glitter? lol
Have you ever used any other Black sand other then this?
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lol I have no idea how much it sparkles. Chesherca told me it did. It looks good in her pictures so it can't be too bad. I was going to get Estes marine sand, but the Tahitian moon sand seemed so much cheaper. It is when you're comparing 5 pounds vs 20!

This will be my first black sand. I've only used pool filter and play sand before. I wanted something black, because I like how plants just pop in my Eco Complete. Everything but the original bag of sand is coming from in state so it hopefully won't take long to get here even with the post office closed on Monday. I'm resisting the urge to buy the plants yet. I'm excited to do that. I'm really dreading trying to catch the fish though.
 

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LoL yeah I would say 5lbs is cheaper then 20lbs.
I used Black diamond once but not sure I would use it again. It was cheap and looked good!
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LoL yeah I would say 5lbs is cheaper then 20lbs.
I used Black diamond once but not sure I would use it again. It was cheap and looked good!
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If it was cheap and looked good why wouldn't you use it again? I had thought about it, but only briefly. Right or wrong I made up my mind that blasting sand just wouldn't be "softbelly" safe.
 

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Right or wrong I made up my mind that blasting sand just wouldn't be "softbelly" safe.
That's why I probably won't use it again. At the time I had it I didn't have any substrate fish. Though I read where ppl said its fine for Cory's and other fish on another site. After going through it and cleaning it. Yeah not convinced it was safe at all and OMG talk about taking FOREVER to clean!! Yeah it took about 3x as long to clean then play sand did. It also stained my buckets! :shock: I finally got it all cleaned and looking good before I put it in my tank. I used it as a cap over my MGOPC tank once. It didn't leave any residue or anything in my tank like it did in my buckets when I was cleaning it. So i guess I got it all cleaned but I don't think I will go through that again. I will just stick with Playsand until I can find a cheap Black sand to use next time.
 

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*waves*

This is going to be so much FUN! I'm excited to see your tank grow!!!

Tahitian moon sand DOES sparkle, lol, but it isn't like glitter. . . this random internet picture is fairly accurate, I think:


All those little white specks you see are where the light has hit those pieces just right to make 'em shine. It dims down a bit once it gets older, but the sparkle is still there. I like my TMS, wish it weren't so expensive. . . I don't think it's particularly UN-manly, so you should be all-right *giggle* My husband likes it just fine - and he HATES all things glitter. It didn't take me nearly as long to rinse clean as it took me with play-sand, but I did have the problem with the black residual staining buckets and siphons when it was new. After the rinsing, and one wipe off on the tank glass after adding, I haven't had any problems with it. . . I hope your experience is happy, too - I'll feel bad if you end up hating it after buying it in part because of my rave!

The original tank looks nice - I can't wait to see how you grow it! Now you know we need a plant list. Those are important!

Anyway, good luck with everything - I hope it all ships super-quick and you can get started! *cracks knuckles*
 

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That's why I probably won't use it again. At the time I had it I didn't have any substrate fish. Though I read where ppl said its fine for Cory's and other fish on another site. After going through it and cleaning it. Yeah not convinced it was safe at all and OMG talk about taking FOREVER to clean!! Yeah it took about 3x as long to clean then play sand did. It also stained my buckets! :shock: I finally got it all cleaned and looking good before I put it in my tank. I used it as a cap over my MGOPC tank once. It didn't leave any residue or anything in my tank like it did in my buckets when I was cleaning it. So i guess I got it all cleaned but I don't think I will go through that again. I will just stick with Playsand until I can find a cheap Black sand to use next time.
No substrate fish! :shock: That's just so not me. Every tank I've had has some. It was usually always corydoras. Two of my tanks now don't contain any catfish and those are a first. One has loaches though and the other is this tank which will have loaches. lol That's usually the first fish I decide on for a new tank.

If Black Diamond takes longer to clean than play sand then I'm definitely avoiding it in the future. I know I spent hours cleaning that stuff. Worked better though once I realized you have to clean a handful or two at a time. It's a shame pool filter sand has that crappy color. I cleaned that before and all I did was make it wet.
 

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*waves*

This is going to be so much FUN! I'm excited to see your tank grow!!!

Tahitian moon sand DOES sparkle, lol, but it isn't like glitter. . . this random internet picture is fairly accurate, I think:


All those little white specks you see are where the light has hit those pieces just right to make 'em shine. It dims down a bit once it gets older, but the sparkle is still there. I like my TMS, wish it weren't so expensive. . . I don't think it's particularly UN-manly, so you should be all-right *giggle* My husband likes it just fine - and he HATES all things glitter. It didn't take me nearly as long to rinse clean as it took me with play-sand, but I did have the problem with the black residual staining buckets and siphons when it was new. After the rinsing, and one wipe off on the tank glass after adding, I haven't had any problems with it. . . I hope your experience is happy, too - I'll feel bad if you end up hating it after buying it in part because of my rave!

The original tank looks nice - I can't wait to see how you grow it! Now you know we need a plant list. Those are important!

Anyway, good luck with everything - I hope it all ships super-quick and you can get started! *cracks knuckles*
lol The unmanly part was just a bit of teasing. If I thought it would have looked terrible I wouldn't have gotten it. Having the sparkles I'm hoping is a good thing. I'd like to use the rocks I have in there, plus some others I have in the backyard that I got out of the creek. I wanted a black substrate, but didn't have really dark rocks so I hoping this kind of pulls it together.

How bad is the staining? I was planning to clean the sand in my unfinished cellar. If it makes a big mess though I guess I'm going to be freezing my butt off outside. I've done play sand in the cellar with no problems, but if this is worse...

Plants in there now or what I'm going to get? The getting is a mystery. I saw some cheap Crypt nurii for sale, but I'm afraid to buy it now without the tank set up and might not see it for sale again. I am planning lots of crypts though.

In there now are:
Crypt wendtii green gecko
Crypt wendtii Mi Oya
Crypt wendtii bronze
Anubias barteri coffeefolia
Anubias barteri gold
Anubias barteri micro
Anubias barteri petite
Java moss (not pictured)
Peacock moss
Amazon frogbit
Dwarf water lettuce
Salvinia cucullata (little bit yet, but the other floaters do better and grow quicker)
Java fern narrow leaf
Hygrophila pinnatifida (I've seen more growth from the anubias than this :shock: )
 

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For ME it wasn't that bad, pretty much little black rings where the silt rose with the water level on the side of the bucket, and a tiny bit of dark discoloration from the first water change at in the siphon tube I use. Nothing major. I did mine outside, but there are no marks on the sidewalk - I doubt it'll be a huge problem in an unfinished basement, but if you want to be sure. . .

Nice plant list! I love crypts, oooooh do I ever! I'm still new to Anubias, but I now officially have several, I'm hoping I like them as much as I think I will, lol! I imagine it'll take quite a bit of time before I figure that one out.

I think the rocks will look fine with the black sand. I actually have quite a few orange quartzite rocks that I picked out for my tank - I thought they looked nice with the black, but I ended up liking the darker ones I have better, so I ended up using those in the 55 and the QT tank. . .

So. . . what are you looking at eventually for stocking? I know you already have the B. naevus (beautiful little fish, Gah! I love them!), and you're looking into a couple of different loaches. . . anything else in consideration?

Can't wait to see you get all your pieces together, and this tank on it's way!
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
I like crypts, but they can just be so touchy! They were growing very nicely in the substrate, but I always have some set back. I added those tiny fish and boom! two bronze wendtii melted away and haven't returned. Couple weeks again when the fish were acting funny, melt all week. I know when I replant them I'll go through the same thing. At least I don't have to worry about that with the anubias. They grow very slowly, but it's not a step forward/step back deal.

Oh fish I'm considering? Oh boy am I ever. This is going to be book length.

First thing is I want to at least double my B. naevus. I have 8 in a 10 gallon tank which sounds like a lot, but you would not believe how empty that tank looks. Some of the pond snails in that tank are the same size as the fish. I have 20 or more B. brigittae in my 29 gallon (they are tough to count!) and it's awesome seeing a huge shoal of tiny fish swimming around.

Since I have the B. naevus that eliminates any other Boraras since I don't want to risk hybridization. Sundadanio axelrodi 'blue' is also out since I think I'm going to add them to my 29 gallon. No sense in have the same fish in different tanks when I have limited space. I could still do the red or green Sundadanio forms/species though. I'm also crossing of Dario hysginon and dwarf zebra loaches since I have them as well.

These can't all be together with each other, but they can be with my Boraras from what I've read. I've fallen in love with cyprinids since I never kept them before. Most of this research goes back to researching my last tank.

Horadandia atukorali, Danionella dracula (if I want really tiny), Microdevario kubotai, Trigonostigma hengeli, Danio tinwini, Danio choprae, and Brevibora dorsiocellata would all stay small and should work. Oryzias woworae isn't a cyrpinid, but it is a fish I'd love to have.

If I was willing to try live foods I could get Indostomus crocodilus. If I wanted to do live foods and blackwater I'd go for licorice gouramis (want them so bad!).

For the substrate I want kuhlis, preferably the small guys, but they are all nice. I think I've said before I suck at stocking, especially with tiny fish. I'm not sure how many kuhlis could be kept in a 20 long, because I've never had them before. The more the better since the are so social, that's why I want the small guys. Barbucca diabolica is another loach I'd like, but they're tough to find. Everything else on my list I've seen for sale before different places and right this very moment at the Wet Spot.

Petruichys sp. 'rosy' would be nice. They need water harder than my tapwater from what I've read from the only source I could find. It is in the range though of what I buffer my water up to for the plants. That's the low range for them, but the high range for some of the other fish I listed, which probably isn't the greatest situation. On the other hand the rosy loaches are found in nature with celestial pearl danios and some sources say they need even softer water which makes me wonder just what range the loaches have.

lol That's just some of the fish I was considering. I need to narrow done the list a lot. I wouldn't be opposed to small characins or even pygmy sunfish (really want them too!). I'm just trying to keep the post from getting too long and boring everyone. Oh and sorry about not using common names, a lot of these fish just don't have them.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My lighting arrived today. Still waiting on the sand yet. Not sure when that will arrive. I would like to start ordering some plants, however not being sure when the sand will be here makes that a problem. If it was stems I could just float them until I set up the new tank. I'm going to be getting crypts though and they don't respond well to floating.
 

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I'm loving your fish list. . . lol. . . a very LONG list of very SMALL fish - totally you. *giggle* Three cheers for lighting, hope the sand arrives tomorrow. Lets get this show started! I can't wait to see what you do in this tank. . .
 

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HEY! I'll have you know that I own 12 fish that are over an inch and a half! Just because the other 44 are smaller than that means nothing. lol

Shh, but that was the short list of small fish. I think I've got it narrowed down some though, although one day I will likely own all those fish on the short list.

Good news...sand will be here tomorrow! Bad news...just the one five pound bag. The other 15 pounds haven't shipped yet. Must resist the urge to buy plants still.
 

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You are too funny. . . :) I hope you DO get a chance to 'collect them all' one day!

Bummer about the sand *giggle* 5-pound bag. . . why do they even SELL a 5-pound bag?!

So, you wanna share your narrowed down version of the short list of small fish?! Inquiring minds demand details. . . I think you should go for the licorice gouramis - you seem really into keeping those. Beautiful little fish, they are. . .
 

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One day maybe room won't be the deciding factor and I can take all the empty tanks out of the basement and fill them up. Oh and the shed, I have some in the shed too.

The sell five pound bags just to to confuse people like me. I'm pretty sure once I get the bag I'll read the really fine print and it will say "You should have got the bigger bag, idiot."

I do want the licorice gouramis. I'm not even picky about what species. Maybe I'll collect them all too one day. My tapwater is 3 dGH and I buffer that up to 5 for the plants. That might be too much for them. They seem to do best in super soft, super acidic, strictly black water tanks like Betta coccina complex species (did you guess I want them too?) need. Plus given their rarity, they are something that if you own them you should probably be trying to breed them.

The shorter list is a loach species or two, still haven't narrowed them down, and either Hengels rasbora, emerald eye rasbora, or Daisy's ricefish. OK, I still need to to do a lot of narrowing down, but it's a start.
 

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Ooooh, I LOVE Hengels Rasbora. . . I came very close to getting them for Becoming when I couldn't find Jelly bean or Coffee beanTetra anywhere. Very lovely little fish, I'd like to keep them one day, too - bonus is that they aren't *AS* hard to find as some of the other species on your list! :)

Maybe not in this tank, but I'd love to see you do a species setup specifically for keeping Licorice Gourami. . . Plants, caves, and black-water - it'd be a thing of beauty! I don't have the experience to keep those fussy little guys yet, but maybe one day. They're gorgeous, I'd love to get a chance to learn about them first-hand. Betta coccina would be amazing in a species-specefic setup, too. . . there are so many fussy little fish that I'd like to keep. It's kind of a bummer that they almost ALL need to be kept species-only, and in at least 20 gallons + to do best. If I could rock out a shelf-full of 5 or 10 gallon tanks, I would totally have each fish to their own biotope. I would really enjoy that, but no - they all need the bigger tanks. And I'd feel bad keeping them in tiny tanks, anyway. I think we both need a fish-room - and bigger houses to put it in!!! *giggle* It sounds like you have enough tanks for it laying around in the basement and the shed. . . It's so hard when you fall in love with every fish there is. . .

Can't wait to see which loaches you pick. . . LOACHES!!! *squeeeee*
 

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Discussion Starter #20
For me the Hengels rasbora would be one of the more expensive fish to get. Them, Sundadanios, and Pangio loaches would cost me a large amount in shipping. Almost anything else I listed, including licorice gouramis, could be gotten for maybe 1/6th of the shipping cost. We're talking less than $10 vs $50.

I was doing some quick reading on licorice gouramis. The do best in water 2 dGH or less so I'm not sure how much difference that one degree would make to them. Also turns out that they can be kept with plants. Crypts, mosses, and watersprite were all listed as being good with the extra soft water. No idea how anubias, Amazon frogbit, or Java fern would do. When I first put plants in this tank the ferns kept growing black spots and dying some. When I buffered the water though it started doing great. Not sure if it just acclimated or if the harder water was the key. I have alder cones, Indian almond leaves, and oak leaves stored in my fish stand for blackwater so that's not a problem. I'll have to do some more reading and give it some thought. I'd for sure have to set up cultures though if I got the gouramis. Even my Dario hysginon will eat dry foods, but they won't.

You don't need a 20+ gallon tank for either licorice gouramis or the Betta coccina complex, so you don't have an excuse. Any of those you can house a pair in a 5 or 10 gallon. If you want I can trade you some empty tanks for some of your loaches. I'll give you a really good deal too. ;)
 
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