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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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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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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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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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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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Hrm... wonder why I almost always see that these guys need a 20? Probably because of water quality issues, which - I've always done really well with maintaining a full stable cycle in tiny tanks, 5, 3, I even had some guppy fry in an insanely stable 1 gallon 'tank' at one point, lol! But I don't NEED any more tanks! I'm trying to shut down some of the ones I have so I can focus what time I have on my bigger one - plus no space for those I have already!

I'll try to ship you some of the dwarf loaches, I've told you this! Never shipped fish before, though. . . it's always the shipping that gets you, isn't it? Around $50 for overnight delivery. . . it's only worth it if you get a LOT of fish at one time, but you really have to be ready for the sudden increase in bioload. I've only had fish shipped to me one time - that was my Jelly Bean Tetra. They all came through perfectly, but I was super nervous about it!

I'm SURE you could do wonderfully with the Licorice gourami, and I'd love to see you get them. I'm assuming that you have those available locally? You have that fantastic fish shop fairly close to you. . .I'm so jealous! Have you ever asked them if they'd order in some of the other types of fish you're looking for? I bet they would!

Byron has ridiculously soft water, too - he also has to buffer his Gh up to help keep his plants thriving. If you post in the plant section, he'll help you out - he's very active over there, and I'm sure there are others that have the same problem that you do. . .

pretty little Licorice gourami . . . hmmmmmm! Decisions, decisions!
 

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LOL! I've never used, but also have kept, those darn clarifiers, too! Don't know why I'm so compelled to keep the things, as I have absolutley no intention of ever using them. . . maybe some day I'll have a real NEED to clear a tank on the quick, and be desperate enough to 'trust' a chemical to do it for me? *shrugs* I opened one once, just to know - it's not empty, filled with a clear liquid. . .lol. Glad you like the sparkle sand! Obviously, I do too - and now I feel less nervous about giving a rave review - I was nervous that you'd hate it, and blame me, lol!

Thanks for the link. I'm curious AND a nerd. There are SO many amazing fish out there. . . right now I just need to keep focused on the ones I have, and to be fair - they've been pretty darn entertaining lately - even more so than normal! But that said, I do enjoy reading everything I can get my hands on. Even if I'm not going to keep them (any time soon), I love to learn about them. :D

Jealous of your local breeding gal - that's awesome, bummer that she's skeeved by loaches, but not *too* surprising, a lot of people are. Oddly enough, those people also tend not to like snakes very much ;) Worth giving TFP a call. . . I'd think! Define local? If I could get them shipped to you for that little. . . you're only 2 hours away! It might be worth a try. . .

. . . movie stars. . . heh.
 

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Haha! I think we're fairly similar - I'd have trouble feeding snakes, too - feeding LOACHES, on the other hand. Well. . . that squirmy pile of cute just brings me to my knees every time!

Maybe your lil' bag is SO small/empty because. . . *snicker* it's only meant to clarify a 5 pound bag! *GUFFAW* I think its worked out well in a way, tho. Even if you have to wait patiently for the rest to arrive, you at least got a chance to be SURE you wanted it - and apparently PLENTY of time to cancel the order - before the bigger bag(s) arrive :)

So tell me how you've got your substrate set up, ALL about it. . . I'd love to hear your experiences in dirt tanks, as I'm *considering* setting one up at some point. . . you said you use the Miracle-Gro organic potting mix - is it just that with sand on top? I want details :)

Why am I the only one commenting on this thread? It's gonna be an awesome tank. I guess I'm just a dork - I LOVE watching other people's tanks grow!
 

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Haha! No offense intended, darlin'!

Sorry I'm sooooo chatty ;) It isn't just that I like to talk, I just am really excited to LEARN, too. . . chances are that I'll never have ALL of the tanks I'd love to, so it's neat to learn from others' experiences, and get their POV - I'm entirely too eager to learn all there is to know about aquariums. And I'm sure the fact that I'm surrounded by a sea of 2 and 3 year-olds all day doesn't help much ;)

Not meaning to hijack the thread, but did you/do you like the soil better than sand? Or just the same to you?

I promise. I'll be quiet(er). . . try, anyway. I get too excited :D
 

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Hooray for books! Thanks for the information... hmmmm. How DO you keep the two layers from mixing, and do you HAVE to cap it with sand? I know from what I've read about various enriched substrates, that the effect goes off as they're depleted. Does this happen with soil, too? I guess. . .is it just that the plants seem to prefer soil, or is it that they're getting something 'extra' from the miracle grow? I've read so many different things on this, I've confused myself!

Boredomb is great as a voice of sanity, lol - he's helped me out in the same way over the last year. . . :)

WHAT happened with that weirdness? Was it the weather or the water?! I didn't lose any crypts - but my fish were freaking out for a week. . . NOT a big fan!
 

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Thanks for all this info, guys! I've really been trying to figure this out for some time now. I've been wanting to TRY a dirted tank, but I don't WANT to cap it, lol! I really want it to look . . .like. . . nature! I'm okay with MIXING the dirt with the sand, but I don't really want layers. And yeah. . . I WILL move plants. Eventually, I always do! I think I'm going to have to take another look in my Walstad book. I'm SURE this information is in there somewhere. . . I must have missed it! I'll post over where the plant gurus hang out, maybe they would know. . .

Neither floating particles NOR leaching of nutrients/toxins make any sense to me. Unless it ALL floats, which it doesn't, lol. Those bits will either settle or be filtered out over time. And the nutrients would have to be in the water column, I can't see how they wouldn't be - or how sand would protect from that happening. Could be wrong, but it doesn't make sense. Even ammonia and nitrates would eventually take care of themselves via the nitrogen cycle. . . I'd be more than happy to have it set up as plant-only for a few months just to be sure! :)

Really nice to get your personal experiences. . . thanks!
 

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*giggle* you read my mind - mud was the next thing I was going to ask about - that's it, I'm starting a thread! Doesn't Mika have a mud bottomed tank? I feel like I remember her actually digging up mud from the forest near her at one time. Valid point about the bottom dwellers. . . I'm not sure if it would bother me, though. Since it would be a 'natural' disturbance caused by the fish. Water changes might be a disaster, though! Or. . . depending on how you had your filter/bubbler working. Hrm.

I'm not OPPOSED to layering, exactly. . . just that. . .I PROMISE you, I would make a mess of it, the layers would get mixed eventually! It's more of an aesthetic thing, rather than a plant-growth thing. I think it'd look really cool, and wonder why nobody ever seems to do it :) Maybe the cap isn't so much to weigh down the soil, but to weigh down the plants?
 

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HUZZA for MTS!!! I have these in all of my tanks, if you want a few more, I'd be happy to send some over. I'm actively shutting down tanks right now, so have some to share, bonus that I put a bunch in a plant-only tank around a month ago to QT them for someone else. But there are more in that tank that were already in there, so lemme know if you'd like me to send some your way! Willing to bet you have more than you think, though, lol!

I'm kind of with John, they ARE indestructible! What do you have in your tanks that would be 'doing in' the MTS? Your water is softer than mine, do you try to feed them with calcium-rich foods to help them keep their shells strong? That may be an issue. . . otherwise - LOACHES!!!

I don't know if it's the loaches or the rams, but in Becoming, and ONLY in Becoming, I actually DO lose MTS. It's almost always the littler ones, guessing their shells aren't as strong, or that they're too foolish to hide when a fish comes cruising by, but I actually have to grow them out in other tanks before putting them into the 55, or they WILL be picked on. . .

Thanks for your thoughts on the difference between soil and dirt. After doing some more reading, and getting a lot of replies on my other thread, I think you're right about that. Once you actually go through the mineralization process and sift out all of the chunks in the topsoil, you end up with . . . normal dirt! Lol, it sounds so duh, but. . .what do I know about stuff!!!?
 

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Yeah... it IS really weird, I agree with you there. Even the dry ferts doesn't make sense. Maybe it has to do with how you're raising your Gh? But people do THAT and have snails, too *scratches head* Did you ever do a test on the metals in your water? Could be that?

I'll send you some MTS if you want 'em, tho - no issues there :) I'm a softie, too - but sheesh! These snails will live in a JAR. I don't get it!

For the record, neither the wormy loaches nor the rams are known for being snail eaters, lol. I'm sure something's going on in that tank, though - and I will continue to blame them!
 

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You might just find that you have more than you think! DKRST was nice enough to send me a bunch of his 'granddaddy' snails - the big boys, and since I've had that full-grown population in my 55, I've had no problems keeping the littler ones around. . . *shrugs*

I don't believe you could keep all of those lil' bitty sensitive fish if you were adding something, or had something in the water, that would kill snails. . . I know it's apples to oranges, but still! Maybe you just got bad stock - snaily parasites or something. . .
 

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WHAAAAAT!!! It's been a ridiculous amount of time for them to not have even been shipped yet! I can't help but think something has gone wrong somewhere! Have you contacted them? Maybe they'll give you a discount for being so patient!

I'm SURE you're a good fishkeeper. . .we just gotta work on your snail-keeping skills, lol! Still can't imagine what could possibly be going wrong for MTS to die so easily, but I'm hoping you find some after lights-out whenever you get a chance to look! Maybe drop an algae wafer or some veggies in to lure them out when you put out the lights. . . I hope you find a happy colony that you never knew existed!
 

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You do. You NEED the sand. YESTERDAY, at the latest! LOL! *I* am having a hard time killing the excitement, and it isn't my tank!

Hmmm, I guess you could do a 'control' test on the next batch of snails, some you can put in a tank where you use the ferts, and the other in a tank where you don't. . . do you put ferts in your grandmother's tank? You said she has snails, right?
 

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Wait... unless you can plant the plants elsewhere. Not gonna trust that the plants won't arrive first and they wouldn't like floating around waiting for your sand to arrive! Wet Spot has Kuhli!!! :D
 
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