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A mega-update!


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Hey all!
Been a while. Here's a little update on my tanks (mostly for Simon and Jayc, who've seen them from the start).

As a preface, I've been really, really busy this year. I've had little-to-no time for any of my hobbies, which is unfortunate because I've got a lot of them and love them all. As such I've barely touched my tanks - I water change every month or two, and feed once every 2-3 days. Sounds bad, I know, but most of my tanks have been doing really well, and I haven't noticed any changes from the mean. This week I've had a tiny break, after going on a holiday, and was able to clean up my tanks and restock one of them. I'm also lucky to have the time to write up a relatively comprehensive post. Obviously, as I'm sure is the same for anyone in this hobby, I could talk forever about my fish, but I'll try to keep it under control.

I've got 5 tanks going at the moment, as well as two java moss tubs and a goldfish pond. For the tanks it's a freshwater 29 gallon, 3 freshwater 5 gallons on a vertical rack, and a saltwater 5 gallon. I'll run through them in order and talk about what's happened since I last talked about each tank. Please excuse the terrible photos throughout - I couldn't be fussed getting quality pictures of them all.

29 Gallon

This tank was established almost 4 years ago, and is my oldest tank. It's gone through many phases of planting and scaping, but has featured the same staple fish throughout (those being the ones remaining). It has been dominated by lace fern, has featured huge crypts that touched the surface, has been filled 90% with java moss, and now has a more manageable & diverse jungle. This tank currently holds two male apistogramma nijsseni (Aegir, and Erik Aegirson), one male Calico Bristlenose (Mango), one Siamese Algae Eater, and eight Ember Tetras.
My ember tetra school originally held 20 fish, and through the years I think I've only seen 3 bodies. One was yesterday, in the mouth of gutsy little Erik Aegirson.

These fish are over 4 years old now, and are only supposed to live 2-3 years in captivity, so I'm calling this a success. I'll probably add to the school in a few months, once it gets down to 5 or 6. For now I'll let these old chaps swim together in peace. 

I originally had 3 calico bristlenoses, and actually an albino and a longfin regular, but sadly all but one have passed away. Honestly I only worked out the issue after the last death, maybe 9 months ago, which was that I was underfeeding. Bristlenoses definitely need intentional feeding, and I wasn't feeding heavily enough or with enough variety to sustain 5 adult bristlenoses. That being said, I did get two spawns out of my calicos, maybe 18 months ago? One spawn I left in the tank, and they all just disappeared within a couple weeks. So I pulled the next spawn, split the 60 fry into four 5 gallon tanks (dumb, I know, that was WAY overstocked). From the original 60 fry, I have a whopping... 1. Yup. That's the fish keeping hobby - failure with a cost. 15 died overnight, then the rest slowly got picked off by my bettas or just died (presumably from a lack of intentional food, which I'm only recognising in hindsight). Honestly, I just didn't have the knowledge or the correct facilities to raise them, and while the breeding was not intentional, I probably should've just handed the fry off to someone with the right tank.

As for the apistos, Aegir's partner, Ran, passed away a month ago. She lived to a ripe old age of 4 (not bad for a girl who lived with males her whole life and spawned probably 8-10 times. She was a lovely girl, very well tempered, and a great mum. I sold most of her fry that grew large enough, only keeping a single pair for myself. The female of this pair actually spawned with her dad a couple times, and it made for a very entertaining situation. It felt like I was watching some B-grade drama. Ran didn't like this of course. I'm not sure what the cause was, but this female died maybe 6 months ago, leaving just Ran and the two males. The father and son now get along quite well; it's a nice relationship. 

The future of this tank will probably involve a new school of ember tetras, and eventually my 1 surviving calico BN fry will join Mango in this tank. I'm thinking of getting some black bar endlers for this tank to breed and sell, and perhaps eventually when Aegir passes I'll get a female nijsseni as a partner for young Erik. I'll continue to grow out the plants in this version of the scape, which I'm really enjoying. 


5 Gallon (top of rack)

This tank has just recently been revamped, and was restocked 5 days ago. It hasn't held fish since July last year, when my gorgeous betta Bear, along with 2 of my calico BN fry and a small colony of emerald moscow guppies, died. I was overseas for 3 weeks. My petsitter said she came in one day and they were just all dead. By the time I got back, the tank was an algae-filled mess. I'm ashamed to say I didn't even touch it for months, and only in December I worked up the courage to clean it out. It was dark for those 5 months, and most of the bodies degraded, allowing me to handle most of it with a gravel vac. I removed and washed the gravel, and changed over everything else in the scape. It's probably one of my favourite scapes now, and I've stocked it with a fish I've always adored - El Silverado endlers. I'm really glad I chose these; I've missed endlers so much. Going from the dozens I used to keep and sell, to having none for a couple years, it really left a hole in my heart. A little 2cm long, colourful and inquisitive hole. These little guys have so much personality. What with them being from Venezuela, I decided to give them hispanic names. We've got 'Ignacio' (or Nacho for short, from Jack Black's character in Nacho Libre), 'El Estepario Siberiano' (a big name for a tiny fish, taken from one of my favourite drummers), 'Frida' (named after the stern-looking famous artist) and 'Guadalupe', because it's just a great name for a fish. Following this line of thinking, I couldn't help myself from naming the largest Malaysian Trumpet Snail in the tank 'Inigo Montoya', in honour of the character from The Princess Bride. I'd like to imagine he's always looking at me, searching for vengeance, because chances are I probably killed his father (albeit accidentally, I'm sure). 
edit: I just noticed a couple fry in the tank already - I guess Frida was a tad pregnant. So happy with this!

Frida, Ignacio and El Estepario   The Endlers   Inigo Montoya

The future of this tank will probably just be as a species-only. I'm excited to breed endlers again, and I'll be raising the fry in the java moss tubs hopefully. I'm trying to avoid my old tendency of overstocking - I've got photos of a planted, healthy 5 gallon with 50 juvie endlers in it, and while it worked really well, it was a balance I'm not sure I can manufacture again. I'm really looking forward to enjoying these endlers though, and getting some fuller plant growth. This is a tank I can see myself keeping some shrimp in, too. If I see some well-priced and healthy cherries, I might just pop some in here. I miss having shrimp.


5 Gallon (middle of rack)

I think I've finally found a sweet spot with this tank.
I tried having it as an iwagumi style tank for 2 years. Something was never quite right, and the glossostigma would always get covered in algae and die, and the dwarf hairgrass I tried never grew. I probably gave this 2 or 3 shots? Spent too much money on tissue cultured plants, that's for sure. I bought some myriophyllum mattogrossense late last year, for my 29 gallon, and it did REALLY well. Probably my favourite plant now; it grows so easily, and looks fantastic. In months it's filled out the right back corner of my 29, so I tried it a few times in this middle 5 gallon. And after a few algae-covered failures, I've finally got it looking pretty good! The CPDs seem to like it. 
On that note, I have the tank stocked with 4 Celestial Pearl Danios (2m2f), and my one remaining calico bristlenose fry, who's a juvenile now and is putting on size. The CPDs are great; for whatever reason, despite what everyone says about them being shy, mine are super outgoing - lots of attitude, lots of displaying from the males. I've gotten eggs from them before and tried to raise the fry, but it's tough. I'll give it a go when I've got some free time again. Maybe next summer. 


               large.IMG_00CFF087B3B4-1.jpeg.ab74408af783a4f5e5e86bbdeca2984a.jpeg.                        large.IMG_3936.PNG.5b89ac932de3ce2c1046e08467ea75b1.PNG               

The future of this tank is hopefully one with very little algae and lots of nice plant growth. I'd like to get a nice aquascaped jungle going for the CPDs to nose around in. Ideally I'll get my hands on some floaters and if I do that I might just get some rocket killies. My original plan for this tank was CPDs, CBS and rocket killies, but until I find rocket killies for a good price it'll just be my CPDs. For some reason, rocket killies are really hard to find at my LFSs nowadays. Fingers crossed they pop up eventually. I miss those little guys.


5 Gallon (bottom of rack)


This tank is currently empty. Aside from snails. It's a really sad story actually - last year, in July, I got 4 pseudomugil mellis, one of my dream fish. It was so exciting for me, and I was really happy to have them. I put them in this tank, and set it up as a riverscape. I was supposed to have 2 males and 2 females, but I'm honestly not sure if that's what I got - I know I had 2 males, but at least one of my 'females' looked more like a younger male. One of the males also looked unhealthy, but I only realised once I'd taken him home. He developed a spinal issue very quickly and died within a month. Then after another couple of months, one of my females just disappeared. I was totally stumped. But I thought I at least had a pair. After that though, my remaining female began to look more like a male, and after a couple of months of peace she (or maybe he) beat the male up, and he died. She (or he) was chill and happy after that, but like her sister, simply disappeared just a week ago. She was totally fine, very healthy when I left for a holiday two weeks ago, and when I got back she just... wasn't there. This is a total mystery to me. I've got no clue what happened, I'm stumped. Pretty devastated too. If I ever get the chance to keep these fish again, I think I'll try a 10 or 15 gallon, fully plant it out, and decorate around the tank with four-leaf clovers... or maybe just hang a rabbit's foot around the light. 

The future of this tank is hopefully brighter than it's past. I'm thinking I might try some other plants, see if I can get some cool native grasses or something - @Dave, let me know if you've got any suggestions for a 5 gallon with sand and root tabs. I might try some native shrimp in here, if I see any that are healthy, easy to get and well-priced. Despite a whole lot of talk on my part about trying natives, I've never actually done it. Other than that, the only thing I can see keeping in this tank would be endlers. I'm keeping my eye out for more wild types.


5 Gallon Rockpool Biotope


Ladies and gents, the one you've all been waiting for.
I talked about this idea I had in January last year, this idea of collecting stuff from a Victorian rockpool and making a tank out of it. Somehow, I never gave any update. I've got a massive post I had typed up in my notes app (I'll post that after I finish this), as well as a detailed write up on keeping Red Handed Shrimp in aquaria, and maybe I'll finish that and post it as an article sometime. It documents the entire thing. In short though - I collected 15 palaemon serenus (Red handed shrimp), 7 seastars, some seasnails and macroalgaes. Oh, and 4 adorable dwarf fully aquatic hermit crabs. There was practically no documentation on the keeping of anything I'd collected, so I went in blind. In short, the shrimp all died (aside from one which I had for a while before he passed - I think you could keep one just fine if you feed well, but they're very aggressive when kept in groups). The hermit crabs also all died. Those two things were crushing. I felt awful. I still feel kind of awful; how could you not? That said though, there were some good things. The seastars spawned, which was cool. I also had some new macroalgaes appear, as well as a limpet, a tiny anemone and some teeny tiny jellyfish! That was super cool. It's been a huge learning experience, and really fascinating. (Disclaimer - none of the images are current. Some organisms pictured are no longer present in the tank).

large.BCFA6987-C25E-43E3-AB6A-2A852CC1C798.jpeg.729f1b72209b20afe8e14614939aba5f.jpeg            large.1EA507D4-38DF-40F1-A0AB-B13135763386.jpeg.b44fa0a297c5568d48087235877a58e3.jpeg            large.A4E57334-860A-4092-AE94-E58D26C3635B.png.16966fcee6d321f62b4aafc3316fa397.png            large.210BD9B4-B0B5-49C5-92C9-4A3A89AFEB6A.jpeg.1953f480cb570c36ffd920840c8e0bfa.jpeg 

The future of this tank is a lot more of my laidback aquariuming - I'm keeping this saltwater tank exactly like my freshwater tanks, and it looks pretty great. The seastars certainly aren't complaining. I don't even have to feed them, since they're algae eaters. I've really enjoyed this tank, and I'll probably have a go with one or two shrimp in the future. This tank is on my desk, so it'd be nice to have something that moves faster than glacial speed. 



This'll be a short one. The pond has been a part of the property I'm living in since I've been here, and I care for it. There are 2 black adult goldfish, and 2 younger orange ones. A few juvies too. There are 2 kinds of lily, one of which has produced 21 flowers this year, and one lotus, which has produced 2 flowers this year. The goldfish spawned not last spring but the spring before, and hopefully they'll spawn again this spring. I feed them very occasionally - mostly they're eating mosquito larvae, bloodworms and other critters naturally in the pond. It's a really nice thing to have, and I'm very grateful for it. 


I know this isn't what you meant when you asked for an update @jayc, but I couldn't help myself - truth is, I haven't talked fish to anyone in a while and I had a lot of exciting things I wanted to talk about, to people who I know will be interested. Hopefully there are some lessons to be learnt in here for newer aquarists. I've had a lot of fun with these tanks though, and I'm looking forward to everything yet to come. Maybe next time I post on the shrimp keeper's forum, I'll actually be a shrimp keeper again. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stare at Ignacio and El Estepario Siberiano as they try to flirt with the girls. Have a good one!

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Fantastic update which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Love the rockpool biotope, you are very lucky th have interesting native creatures. Hopefully you can get more in the near future! Would be really great if the jellyfish survives and grows. The seastars are awesome and it is a shame the shrimp didn't survive as they look interesting.

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23 hours ago, Crabby said:

I know this isn't what you meant when you asked for an update

😀 All good bro.

I'm still not finished reading that mega update.

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… legends say jayc is still reading the update

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13 hours ago, Crabby said:

jayc is still reading the update

Waiting for a rainy day, where I can put my feet up and relax to a novel (aka Crabby's mega update).

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  • 2 weeks later...

That sure was a MEGA update!  Lot of good information in there!

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