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New Library Article - Setting Up a New Tank – A Short Primer


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setup.pngIf you are setting up a new aquarium, here is a short primer on how to set up your aquarium properly and efficiently. It may seem daunting at first, but assembling your new aquarium is easier than you think.

Get all the aquarium materials ready

First get all the aquarium materials ready by washing them thoroughly with warm water. Don’t use commercial soaps and detergents as they are toxic to fish. Stick to the most common and the simplest aquarium ornaments. Sift the gravel over a bucket and drain, repeating the process until you are sure that the gravel is debris-free.

Fill your tank with water and set up equipment

The next step in the process is to fill your tank with water. Initially fill around 30% of the tank using room temperature water. You can add the rest of the water right after the internals such as airline tubing, live or plastic plants and other ornaments are added. The air tube is an essential part of the aquarium as it helps with the oxygenation of the water. Plants are generally added to hide equipment, help with the aqua scape or simply aid in the tanks biological ecosystem. The air pump, power filter, and heater are other types of equipment that should be added.

De-chlorinate

You need to treat the water in the aquarium to remove chlorine, which is harmful to your biological filter and could be lethal to your fish. It is important not to overdose on de-chlorinators, as they can have an impact on water chemistry.

Cycle your aquarium

When an aquarium is cycled, it means that you cultivate or grow a bacteria bed in your tank, specifically in the biological filters. The filters will grow bacteria that digest ammonia which converts to nitrite, which is naturally produced and lethal to fish, shrimp, and coral. Controlling these lethal elements is done by introducing healthy nitrifying bacteria into the aquarium.

Before you add fish or shrimp, an aquarium must be cycled properly. This is called the fishless cycle. If you place all your fish or shrimp inside the aquarium without the cycling process, chances are they will probably die within a few days.

Cycling your aquarium takes time and it’s important not to rush it. In some cases, it has taken 6 – 8 weeks to properly cycle a tank.

Adding the inhabitants

Before adding your livestock, it is imperative to test the water. Specifically, the levels of ammonia and nitrite. You need to make sure that these two toxic nitrogen compounds are non-existent in the tank. Wait for two months before cleaning your new filter to allow significant growth of good nitrifying bacteria to populate.

Acclimatise the livestock

Acclimatising your livestock is a very important procedure because it helps your newly-acquired fish or shrimp adjust to their new habitat. Even a minor relocation can affect them because of changes in water parameters.

Setting up a new aquarium takes a lot of planning and patience. Just follow the basic guidelines and the recommendations in this primer, and you will find that owning an aquarium is fulfilling and enjoyable.


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Nice quick and easy guide. I was busy working on something similar but it started getting to technical and then I started getting confused so scraped it[emoji23]


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Will email you the link. Made it active again on medium.


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    • Rare Aqua
      By Rare Aqua
      The in depth guide to keeping as well as breeding Amarinus lacustris by Hervey Doerr-Rolley
       
      Overview
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      Key points for their care;
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      View full article
    • Rare Aqua
      By Rare Aqua
      The in depth guide to keeping as well as breeding Amarinus lacustris by Hervey Doerr-Rolley
       
      Overview
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      Water chemistry
      A. lacustris have a strong preference for hard water, I keep and breed mine in;
      pH: 8-8.2
      Ammonia:0ppm
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      *25% water changes are done weekly*
       
      Breeding and Husbandry 
      Key points for their care;
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      Air pump sponge filters are essential as this provides cleaner water as well as a feeding ground for the offspring as well as adults.
      Mulm and moss are essential.
      A good rule of thumb from my experience is 500ml of aquarium space per baby-sub adult, and then 1L per adult crab, this allows for less aggression from male to male behavior. It is up to you but the less stocking density the better due to the aggression of breeding from males, keep in mind this aggression is only towards other males however females that are being copulated with may sustain serious injuries if too many males are kept together. The best ratios are two males to 8 females. When a female sheds she releases hormones into the water column just like shrimp, if any of you are familiar with breeding shrimp you can note this by the erratic and fast speeds the males zoom around the aquarium searching for the female, this is the same case with A. lacustris except the swimming, rather they crawl quickly around the aquarium in search for the female to copulate with. Once the male finds the female he will grasp the female tightly underside to underside in a 'hug' embrace, he will then fertilize the female. This embrace can last minutes or hours depending on the male. Eggs will soon become visible and as described above hatch within 25-30 days*. This species is a cold water crustacean so you must remember that, breeding will cease if the temperature goes above 22 Celsius. Keep them in a mature mulm filled aquarium with leaf litter (I use oak leaves) with plenty of hiding spots and moss, a 8pH and 15 Celsius and before you know it you will have berried females.
       
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      Thank you for reading my article,
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      Author and credits: Hervey Doerr-Rolley
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      Fully Aquatic Freshwater Crabs Amarinus Laevis.   Difficulty: Intermediate   Max growth size: 2.5cm across carapace (shell width)   Temperament: Peaceful. Safe with other animals that wouldn't attack the crabs (not suitable with large Cichlids or other large aggressive fish). If underfed. Might take advantage of already weak or injured nano fish or shrimp. Only heard of this happen very few times.  They are great for eating snails. Don't eat plants, only decaying plant matter.    Preferred water parameters; Temperature: 10-28*c can handle colder. Increase air supply in warmer waters. Great for unheated indoor tanks.    General harness: medium to moderate. Just like with snails. Soft water isn't healthy for their shells. Harder, calcium rich water is preferred for healthy moults. Crushed coral, shell grit, crushing some cuttlefish bone and/or feeding them snails is recommended.    Tank size and notes: If keeping only females. A group of 3 is a minimum. Otherwise they'll be less outgoing. The more in the group the more comfortable and outgoing they are.   They have a small bioprint. While we do feed them. They also scavenge and break down food and detritus into easier to be filtered forms. Aiding in a healthy balanced ecosystem.   3-6 female crabs can be kept in a nano tank of 5 gallons (19 litres) given the tank has a filter. A standard 2ft tank (approx 14 gallons or 50 litres) can support up to 20 female crabs. I frequently keep more in less water but only when it's just crabs (plus some shrimp and snails).   If you have a male. A larger tank is needed as males can be aggressive. Preferably doubling the above recommendations. For breeding tank details. See breeding guide write up.   Planted tanks are preferred. Aiding in filtration, providing climbing areas for the crabs and decaying plant matter is bonus crab food.    Reproduction: Difficult. Requires around a dozen adult females, a non aggressive male (rare) and an aged tank. They have a free floating baby stage similar to glass shrimp. The vast majority of this species are female. Males are quiet rare and violent to other males. Often with a harem of numerous dozens of females each.    Feeding: Scavengers that love sifting through mulm and poop. Feed sinking omnivores pellets, sometimes algae wafers. Will eat all sorts of foods. Supplementing with live snails is fantastic. Smaller wafers and pellets (I use 1mm sinking pellets) are better than larger ones to reduce the chance of fighting over food. Pellets with added calcium are a bonus to shell health and moulting.    Additional comments: A truely unique, uncommon species in the aquarium hobby. Lifespan about 2-3 years.  They can survive in low end brackish water. 1.010 SG or less. Making a unique snail eating native that thrives in both fresh and low end brackish.  Plant, shrimp and fish safe in general. Doesn't need or use above water area. Recommend using an air stone if not using air powered sponge filtration, to ensure enough dissolved oxygen in the water column for them. Especially in warmer, tropical tanks.          Breeding Tank setup information:   I have had much success with many types of Substrates and setups. As the crabs are very hardy. My preference due to being cheap and effective is as follows. Breeding these crabs I consider advanced. There are a few important, easy parts to the process that if skipped can lead to failure.    Substrate: Back or side 2/3rds of the base plain River rock gravel (any natural gravel you have laying around is fine). Front or other side 1/3rd sand (play sand from bunnings is cheap and effective. Sprinkle of crushed coral over the substrate.   Decor: Driftwood. Piles of larger lava rock pieces (Washed. Bunnings or landscape supply store real cheap). Dead coral rock if you have any is beautiful to use. (skip adding crushed coral if using this).  Plants are highly recommended. The crabs don't eat plants unless it's decaying matter. Plants help with water quality but also add environmental enrichment for the crabs that love to climb on them and micro-organisms for them to feed off.   I now add a tiny bit of marine salt to their breeding tanks as it slightly increases zoae survival rate. The added nutrients and minerals seems beneficial (however not required) for the free floating zoae.    Filtration: Sponge filtration is best. It provides oxygenation for the crabs and can't suck up the free floating first form zoas the eggs hatch into.  If using other filtration, a cheap sponge covering the inlet is required otherwise all new babies that float in the water column will simply get filtered out. Also if not sponge filtration. Adding an air stone is recommended. Since the crabs are true aquatic. They don't go above water to subliment oxygen if ever there's less than desired in the water.   Equipment: A light on a timer is a good idea especially with plants. The algae build up is a food source. The best food source for the young is green water. Which takes some trial and error to get dialed in.  A heater is not required. I've had them breed in an outdoor carport over Victorian winters. 5°c nights and under aren't rare.   Size: For a breeding pack (1 male and harem of  females) a 2ft tank is a minimum. However 3ft is recommended and definitely will be better suited for survivability. A 4ft would be fantastic, in which the male could have a breeding harem of numerous dozens of females.    Life cycle: a single male will mate with his harem of females they'll form around 200 eggs when berried. After weeks of fanning and cleaning the eggs. The female will release them into a light water flow as the zoae hatch. These free floating first form young drift about just like glass shrimp zoae. Consuming nutrients, green water and dissolved calcium in the water column until they go through a moult into a fully form micro crab. About 1mm in size.   These live amongst the pourus lava rock and in the mulm that should be allowed to build up. Going through numerous moults as they grow in size. Some won't survive moults, some will be eaten by adults (sufficient mulm and suplimentary feeding minimises this). Of one females 100-200ish eggs. Those that survive to adulthood are in the many dozens, not hundreds. The young are a common food source in the wild for micropredators. Of those few that make adulthood. Only 1-3 will be males from my experience. Many of the other males potentially eaten or fought each other at younger ages.   When crabs reach about 6-10mm across carapace is when I remove them into grow out tanks. New young males of this size need to be removed to seperate tanks with a dozen same size females, as they will likely fight other males to the death for the right of ownership of a harem.  There are rare instances where the lionesses will kill their alpha lion if he isn't sufficient or doesn't continue to prove himself worthy. Similar can rarely happen with the crabs. So having same sized male/females is important. Especially at a younger age when the males are still learning how to be alpha. On the other hand. A large aggressive male with a harem of young females can all of a sudden go crazy and kill them all. A balance between the sexes is important. In the wild. The insufficient male or the weak/young females would simply be kicked off the rock and have to search for another group. To replicate this we would need very large tanks or ponds to avoid constant civil war.      I am eager to assist any willing to try and breed these. I would love for them to be far more readily available to the hobby. Demant far outweighs what one can breed themself.
      1st pic is a male standing on a ball of females. When moving large groups into grow out tanks, the crabs will form a ball made up of dozens. 

      2nd pic shows a appropriate mix of Substrates and tank setup. Has all the right components. Illustrating that breeding tanks don't have to be dull and unsightly. 

      3rd pic. A stunning male. Showing their magnificent claws. Note the messy wood. Mulm is your friend when breeding these. The adults sift through for food, the young live amongst mulm, eating it and biofilm. Breeding glass shrimp of other zoae stage shrimp in the same tank is a perfect match. 

      4th pic. A close up of the tank in the 2nd pic. Showing a male and some of his harem of females at feeding time. The male eats first and keeps the females in line and waiting for their turn to eat the pellets that fall near him. Waving his claws around at them as they approach. The crabs like to congregate on a single large rock. Especially on the underside of it out of the light when they're not scavenging for food. Porous rock is better so they can grip and for the young crabs to hide in from the adults that might eat them if hungry enough. 
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    • sdlTBfanUK
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